Current Students & Advisees

Current Graduate Students

Justin Beall

Pursuing a Ph.D. in PRTM at NC State (started in 2020)


Background: Justin has a Master of Science in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia (2020) and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from the University of Florida (2018). He began studying the values and beliefs of ecotourism operators at UF and continued to study related topics at UGA. His Master’s thesis focused on comparing the relative influence of environmental values to that of social media goals (e.g., getting a good picture to share online with peers) in determining the intention to choose a sustainable ecotourism vacation over a traditional vacation. He also developed a scale to identify ecotourists from non-ecotourists. (Hometown: Callahan, FL)

Research Interests: Justin’s primary research interests revolve around how values, beliefs, norms, and other cognitive structures influence environmentally-relevant behavior. However, he is interested in examining various topics in human dimensions research such as conservation message framing and the influence of recreation on mental health.

Brooklynn Joyner

Pursuing a Ph.D. in PRTM at NC State (started in 2021)


Background: Brooklynn has a Bachelor of Science in Plant Biology from North Carolina State University (2016). She spent her undergraduate and post-graduate years in the broader field of ecology, conducting research abroad for a short period of time in Brazil before acting as lab manager for a plant disease ecology lab at UNC Chapel Hill (2017 – 2021). During this time, she was also deeply engaged in teaching, mentorship, and science communication. This ignited her passion for science education and shifted her perspective on achieving environmental and conservation goals via a human-centered, social science approach. Brooklynn has now returned to NC State as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow to pursue her doctorate with this new direction. As a first-generation college student from rural NC, she aims for her research to empower local, underserved communities through accessible, equitable, and high-quality science education programs. (Hometown: Pinetops, NC)

Research interests: Brooklynn is broadly interested in exploring how informal science education programs can be used to improve scientific literacy and prompt action in public communities. Her current research focuses on the participant learning outcomes of citizen science projects and how the design of these projects can be improved as a science education tool for the public.

Catherine Lerose

Pursuing an M.S. in FWCB at NC State (started in 2021)


Background: Catherine has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2021). She began taking animal-based courses during her junior year, and it was these classes that made her realize she wanted to incorporate her love of animals into her academic and professional career. She continued to take ethology and communication courses her senior year, plus a wildlife conservation course through the Department of Environmental Conservation in the Natural Resources Conservation program. During the summer of 2021, she worked as a wildlife rehabilitation intern at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown, Long Island. She wanted to become more knowledgeable in the field of natural resources and wildlife management using education and research as tools to understand how we can implement effective conservation strategies. (Hometown: Long Island, NY)

Research Interests: Catherine’s primary research interest involves the management of wildlife and natural resources from a human dimensions perspective. Currently, she is working on her Master’s project which studies Chronic Wasting Disease in white-tailed deer. Her goal is to gain insight into how hunters in North Carolina perceive this disease and the extent to which they view it as a risk to deer populations. Her data will be used by the Wildlife Resources Commission to create a management plan to mitigate the probable emergence of this disease in the state.  In the future, she would like to work with government agencies as a conservation researcher to assist with making policies that focus on endangered wildlife.

Erica Rieder

Pursuing a Ph.D. in FWCB at NC State (started in 2019)


Background: Erica has a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University. After graduating, she began working for World Wildlife Fund, first as a Social Geographer for the Community-Centered Conservation and Development Program in Sesheke, Zambia. After working with communities in Western Zambia, Erica moved back to the US to continue with WWF as a Program Officer for the Coastal East Africa program from Washington DC and then as a Senior Program officer for the US Northern Great Plains and Community Conservation programs. Erica has expertise in community-led conservation, commons theory, conservation finance, and program management. (Hometown: Essex, CT)

Research Interests: Erica’s research focuses on how collective action, group model building and system dynamics can solve wicked conservation problems. In particular, she is studying how participatory system dynamics can build skills in systems thinking and improve trust, collaboration, knowledge and strategy among diverse conservation stakeholders.

Rich von Furstenberg

Pursuing an Ph.D. in PRTM at NC State (started in 2020)


Background: Rich is a PhD student studying attitudes, beliefs, and values towards hunting and fishing. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Texas A&M (2001) at Galveston (T.A.M.U.G) and during his time there worked for T.A.M.U.G’s Sea Camp. As a camp counselor he worked to educate school-aged children about the marine ecosystem and directed a nightly fishing program for the resident campers. Shortly after graduating he branched into a medical research career focused on the study of gastrointestinal physiology and pathology at Baylor College of Medicine (2001-2007). He then went on to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2007-2015) where he completed his Masters in Cell and Molecular Physiology. He continued studying esophageal stem cells at Duke University (2015-2020). Ready for a change, he has now come full circle, back to his passion for the outdoors and seeks to engage others by first understanding their perspectives. (Hometown: Houston, TX)

Research Interests: Rich is interested in understanding the attitudes, beliefs, and values that people have towards hunting and fishing. He is especially interested in using this information to identify less obvious impediments to recruiting non-traditional stakeholders into hunting and fishing. He is also curious about cultures, subcultures, and identities around hunting, fishing, and shooting sports.

Other Students Currently Working with the Lab

Alexa Fernandez-Castillo (, Undergraduate student majoring in PRTM. Role: Research assistant on USFS-funded project titled Engaging diverse communities in urban greening efforts: Lessons learned and pathways to success.

Hannah Mazeski (, MS student in PRTM. Role: Research assistant on USFS-funded project titled Engaging diverse communities in urban greening efforts: Lessons learned and pathways to success.

Genevieve Myers (, Undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Sciences. Role: Research assistant on USFS-funded project titled Engaging diverse communities in urban greening efforts: Lessons learned and pathways to success.

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