Alumni

We are extremely proud of URSA's 17 MS and PhD graduates! Here's a quick introduction to what they researched while at the University of Utah, and where they are now.
James Arnold

James Arnold

James finished his Master's thesis on "Modeling fire-climate connections within the Great Basin and Upper Colorado River Basin, Western United States" in spring 2013. James is now working at Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

Chris Balzotti

Chris Balzotti

Chris completed his Ph.D. on sage grouse habitat analysis in 2014. His dissertation was titled "Exploring the use of fine resolution nested ecological niche models to identify greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) habitat and connectivity potential across a diverse landscape." He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University.

Mark Beaty

Mark completed his Master's thesis on "An examination of a pixel replacement algorithm for monitoring post-fire chaparral recovery using indices derived from AVIRIS data" in 2010.  He works for the Colorado State University Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMML). 

Mickey CampbellMickey Campbell

Mickey Campbell completed his PhD in 2018, with a dissertation titled "Remote Sensing and Geospatial Modeling of Wildland Firefighter Safety". Mickey is now an Assistant Professor at Fort Lewis College in Durango

Austin Coates

Austin Coates

Austin first started as an undergraduate researcher in URSA in 2010. After working for an NGA contractor and Exelis Visual Information Solutions, he came back to the U for his Master's degree. Austin completed his thesis on "Hyperspectral remote sensing for monitoring species-specific drought impacts In Southern California" in fall 2015. He currently works as a Remote Sensing Manager for Farmers Edge.

Kenneth Dudley

Kenneth Dudley

Kenneth completed his Master's thesis on "Mapping species across multiple dates of hyperspectral imagery using iterative endmember selection and multiple endmember spectral mixture analysis" in 2014. He is now at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology.

Greg Fryer

Greg Fryer

Greg finished his Master's in spring 2012, completing a thesis titled "Wildland firefighter entrapment avoidance: developing evacuation trigger points utilizing the WUIVAC fire spread model." Greg is now a firefighter (HEQB) at Fort Hunter Liggett in California.

Scott Graves

Scott Graves

Scott completed his Master's thesis on "Examining vegetation phenology of Ugandan dambos using spectral mixture modeling fractions" in 2008. Scott (better known as Drew to everyone outside the Geography department) now works for Harris Corporation and lives in Florida.  As a geospatial analyst, Scott processes satellite, aerial and LiDAR data and also does material classification and feature extraction. 

Matt Hansen

Matt completed his Master's thesis on "Decision tree classification of dambo wetlands using remotely sensed multispectral and topographic data" in 2008.

Jeremy Larsen

Jeremy Larsen

Jeremy completed his Master's thesis on "Analysis of wildfire evacuation trigger buffer modeling from the 2003 Cedar Fire, California" in 2010.  He then moved to Denver, Colorado to take a position with Gold Fields Exploration coordinating the development of new geospatial methods for locating large gold deposits, as well as the less glamorous task of managing company GIS policies and procedures.  But he still makes frequent trips back to Utah for canyoneering, mountain biking, and rock climbing.

Scott Matheson

Scott Matheson

Scott completed his Master's thesis on "Evaluating the effects of spatial resolution on hyperspectral fire detection and temperature retrieval" in June, 2011.  Scott is now works at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Ran Meng

Ran Meng

Ran completed his Ph.D. on remote sensing vegetation recovery after wildfire and tamarisk beetle disturbance in 2015. His dissertation was titled "Study of two vegetation-related disturbances (beetle herbivory and wildfire) in the Western United States using optical remote sensing." After two years as a post-doc at Brookhaven National Lab, he has started as an Assistant Professor at Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China.

Ashley Powell

Ashely finished her Master's thesis, "Understanding the relationships between fire, climate, and population in Central Uganda from 1990-2010" in Fall 2012. Since defending her thesis, she has embarked on a new career in GIS in Houston, Texas.

Yi Qi

Yi Qi

Yi finished his dissertation on "New physical foundations for remote sensing estimation of live fuel moisture content and fire danger" in 2014. After several years at Brown University, he is now an Assistant Professor at University of Nebraska Lincoln.

Josh ReynoldsJosh Reynolds

Josh graduated with his Master's in 2017, with a thesis titled "Comparing urban vegetation cover with summer land surface temperature in the Salt Lake Valley". He is currently a GIS/Remote Sensing Analyst at Redcaste Resources working for the Forest Service Geospatial Technology and Applications Center.

Abigail Schaaf

Abigail Schaaf

Abi completed her Master's thesis on "Using hyperspectral data to classify vegetation at the plant functional type-level in mountain terrain at three spatial resolutions" in 2010.  Abi now works as a Remote Sensing Project Manager for Redcastle Resources at the Forest Service Geospatial Technology and Applications Center.

Erika WenrichErika Wenrich

Erika completed her Master's in 2018 with a thesis titled "Quantifying drought-induced changes in green vegetation fraction and classification accuracy using hyperspectral data for the central Sierra Nevada, California". Erika is currently a GIS Analyst at OneMap Mineral Services in Houston.