Meet the Faculty
Faculty with diverse backgrounds are committed to unique approaches to environmental issues.
Dr. Brandon Derman
Phone (217) 206-8581
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Brandon received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Washington in 2015. His scholarly and teaching interests center on the production, regulation, and contestation of environmental marginality at scales from the globe to the neighborhood. His current research examines the framing of nature-society relations in climate change law, governance, and social mobilization, and the political opportunities that situate participation by historically-marginalized groups in climate and sustainable development policy making.
Dr. Anne-Marie Hanson
Phone (217) 206-8162
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Anne-Marie has a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Arizona. She also holds an MA in Latin American Studies and BA in Anthropology and Spanish. Dr. Hanson teaches courses in sustainable development, urban sustainability, political ecology, environmental justice, and environmental social sciences and humanities. She is author and co-editor of A Political Ecology of Women, Water, and Global Environmental Change (Routledge, 2015). Her current interdisciplinary research is focused on three projects: (1) gender, water, sanitation and hygiene as related to environmental change, tourism and plastic pollution, and urban sustainable development in coastal Mexico and the Caribbean; (2) citizen science and pollution prevention strategies in Central Illinois waterways; (3) environmental justice and inclusive regional sustainability in Illinois and the Great Lakes region.
Research Tags: feminist political ecology; sustainable development, environmental justice, urban sustainability, Latin American geography, discard studies
- Buechler, S. and A.M. Hanson, eds. (2015). A Political Ecology of Women, Water and Global Environmental Change. London: Routledge
- Hanson, A.M. (2020). Feminist Futures in Latin American Geography. Journal of Latin American Geography, 19(1): 215-224.
- UNEP & GWA (2019). Gender Mainstreaming in the Management of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems. UN Environment Regional Seas Reports and Studies No. 212.
- Hanson, A.M. (2017) Women’s activism linking plastic pollution to community health in the coastal wetlands of Yucatán. Gender and Development 25(2):221-234.
- Finn, J. & AM Hanson. (2017) Critical Geographies in Latin America. Journal of Latin American Geography 16(1):1-15.
- Illinois Public Radio (2020, November 28) “COVID Trickle-Down Effects: The Good, The Bad, And The Ponies” Rising to the Challenge Podcast. Illinois Public Radio
- Illinois Public Radio (2020, May 20). “The Environmental Implications of Staying Home.” The 21st Show.
Dr. Amy McEuen
Research Associate Professor
Phone (217) 206-7341
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Amy received her PhD in Terrestrial Ecology from the University of Michigan in 2002, she also holds a MS in Wildlife Ecology from University of Michigan, and a BA in Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Her scholarly and teaching interests are in conservation biology and plant community ecology. She and her students have been studying the tallgrass prairie restoration sites at the Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon preserve near Havana, Illinois since 2008. She is also interested in the challenges global environmental change poses for conservation and approaches that foster conservation outside of nature reserves (e.g., wild gardening).
Dr. Thomas Rothfus
Research Assistant Professor
Director, Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon
Phone (217) 206-7418
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Tom received his Ph.D. from the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago in 2005, where he studied invertebrate paleoecology. Before coming to UIS, he served as the Director of the Gerace Research Centre, San Salvador, The Bahamas, where he became increasingly interested in protected areas and the application of the fossil record to conservation questions. Tom currently serves as the Director of Field Stations at UIS (the Therkilden Field Station at Emiquon, and the UIS Field Station at Lake Springfield). His current research interests focus on a range of topics from utilizing the shallow fossil record to assess changes in ecological communities, to exploring the semi-aquatic mammal community of the Preserve using camera traps, to evaluating the extent to which litter (plastics in particular) is entering our freshwater systems to the use of drones and AI in detecting invasive plant species. His primary study sites are the Emiquon Preserve, Illinois River, and Lake Springfield.
Dr. Megan Styles
Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies
Phone (217) 206-8580
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Megan received her Ph.D. in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Washington in 2011. She also holds an M.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. Megan’s research focuses on sustainable agricultural development, environmental justice, and conservation issues in East Africa and the United States. She is the author of Roses from Kenya: Labor, Environment, and the Global Trade in Cut Flowers, an ethnographic examination of the social and ecological effects of cut flower farming near Kenya’s Lake Naivasha. Megan is also the Co-Editor for Culture, Agriculture, Food, and Environment (CAFE), a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Anthropological Association. Megan’s work has also been published in Restoration Ecology and in an edited volume entitled The Ecotourism-Extraction Nexus: Political Economies and Rural Realities of (un)Comfortable Bedfellows. She has also worked as an environmental educator and applied anthropologist. She is passionate about teaching, mentoring students, and conducting research that will lead to a more just and sustainable future.
Dr. Tih-Fen Ting
Phone: (217) 206-7876
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Tih-Fen Ting received her Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan in 2003. She has a B.S. in Biology from Tunghai University and a M.S. in Wildlife from Humboldt State University. Her research interests include conservation ecology and population-environment interactions. Broadly speaking, Dr. Ting is interested in examining and finding ways to conserve species, habitats, and ecosystems in our human-dominated landscapes. A major focus of her research program has been on the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species, including state-listed species such as Franklin’s ground squirrel, osprey, and short-eared owl. Students in her lab investigate population dynamics, occupancy, habitat use, and movement ecology of various wildlife. This research program builds on principles of conservation biology, population ecology, population genetics, ecological and spatial modeling, natural resources management, and other disciplines.
Her work before Michigan focused mainly on the ecology, behavior, and demography of various avian species (including northern spotted owls). At Michigan, as a doctoral student, Tih-Fen began an interdisciplinary exploration on issues regarding interactions between human populations and the environment. Her dissertation focused on how resource accessibility affects individual reproductive decision-making in China. She also has collaborated with colleagues to examine the association between cancer and environmental pollution in Taiwan. In 2002, Professor Ting was selected as a LIFE fellow in the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course.
Dr. Yun Zhao
Phone (217) 206-7895
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Yun received his Ph.D. in Geography from Oklahoma State University in 2018. Using geospatial techniques such as GIS and remote sensing, Yun’s current research primarily focuses on the complexity of urban form and its implications on various environmental and socioeconomic applications, including landscape ecology and transportation sustainability. Yun is also interested in the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS, more commonly known as drones) and AI with a focus on its applications in environmental monitoring. Yun is the GIS Lab Director at UIS, and teaches various introductory and advanced courses in GIS and remote sensing.
Research Tags: geospatial techniques, GIS, remote sensing, drone-based environmental monitoring, urban geography
Potential Research Advising: Projects that utilize geospatial techniques to address socioeconomic and environmental issues.
- Guo, Y., Zhao, T. Rothfus, and T. Ting. An Automatic Weed Detection in Soybean Crops Images Based on Deep Residential Network. In review.
- Frazier, A.E., P. Kedron, G. Ovando-Montejo, and Zhao. Scaling categorical spatial patterns: impacts of composition and configuration on downscaling accuracy. In review.
- Kedron, P., Zhao, and A.E. Frazier. (2019). Three dimensional (3D) spatial metrics for objects. Landscape Ecology. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-019-00861-4.
- Zhao, Y. and H. Yu. (2018). A door-to-door travel time approach for evaluating modal competition of intercity travel: a focus on the proposed Dallas-Houston HSR route. Journal of Transport Geography, 72: 13-22. DOI:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2018.07.008.
Professors from the natural and social sciences and the humanities often lend their expertise to broaden the educational experiences of our students. Below is a partial list of those faculty members.
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Microbial and aquatic ecology
Edward Hawes, Malcolm Levin, John Munkirs, Charles Schweighauser, Roy Wehrle.
The department brings in individuals from the surrounding community, and worldwide, whose professional expertise in a particular subject allows students to broaden their educational experience.