Univerity of Minnesota Duluth Logo

About Us

Dr. Lucinda Johnson - NRRI

Associate Director/Initiative Director - Water
Ph.D., Zoology, Michigan State University

Lucinda is the NRRI Associate Director and Initiative Director for Water. Her areas of interest include environmental assessment and bioindicators, impacts of climate change, and decision making in the environmental sciences. Research projects include: effects of multiple stressors on aquatic communities; testing indicators of coastal ecosystem integrity; and predicting impacts of climate change on stream communities.

Dr. George Host - NRRI

Initiative Director - Forest and Land
Ph.D., Forest Ecology, Michigan State University

George is a landscape ecologist and Director of the Forest and Land Initiative as well as NRRI’s Geographic Information System Laboratory. Areas of expertise include quantification of environmental stressors, spatial analysis, and visualization of complex data for scientific and public audiences.

Dr. George Hudak - NRRI

Initiative Director - Mining, Minerals and Metallurgy
Ph. D., Geology, University of Minnesota

As Initiative Director for Mining, Minerals and Metallurgy, George is responsible for overseeing both the Minerals Laboratory in Coleraine, MN, and the Duluth Minerals Group. He guides the overall strategic plan for the Initiative. As a Senior Research Associate in the Economic Geology Group, George has been the Group Leader for the Particle and Materials Characterization Group. He is also the Associate Director of NRRI’s Precambrian Research Center.

Dr. Rich Axler - NRRI

Senior Research Program Manager
Ph.D., Ecology/Limnology, University of California - Davis

Rich’s interests are lake and water quality management and restoration, aquatic ecosystem responses to pollutants, nutrient cycling and food web dynamics, web-based, data visualization tools for environmental education, and constructed treatment wetlands.

Dr. Dean Peterson - NRRI

Senior Research Program Manager
Ph.D., Geology, University of Minnesota

Dean is the Program Manager of the NRRI’s Economic Geology Group. His research interests include magmatic systems, economic geology, geological mapping, Precambrian geology, mineral potential modeling, and three-dimensional modeling of ore systems. Dean has participated in the US government’s Office of Polar Programs studying the enormous Ferrar Magmatic system in Antarctica.

Mae Davenport - UMN TC

Professor, Director of Graduate Studies-Natural Resources Science and Management, Director-Center for Changing Landscapes
Ph.D. 2003, University of Minnesota

Mae’s research interests are focused on the human dimensions of natural resource management, specifically sustainable land use planning; community-based ecosystem management; recreation planning; and human beliefs, attitudes and behaviors associated with landscape change. Her research program has investigated community capacity for watershed conservation, stakeholder attitudes toward wetlands restoration, residents’ perceptions of the re-colonization of cougars in the Midwest, and recreational boating practices associated with aquatic invasive species and fish diseases. She is particularly interested in applying and expanding existing theories of community capacity in community health and development disciplines to the ecosystem management context.

Cindy Hagley - MN Sea Grant

Environmental Quality Extension Educator
M.S., Aquatic Ecology/Limnology, University of California - Davis

Cindy’s main interests are Great Lakes coastal environments, water & environmental quality, shoreland management, and coastal resources use. She has experience as a discussion facilitator and with administrative and programmatic coordination.

Dr. Mei Cai - NRRI

Research Technical Manager
Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Mei’s research interests include water chemistry, stormwater, climate change, watershed and environmental statistics. Current study focuses on the effects of environmental stressors to aquatic biological communities and highway stormwater treatment.

Will Bartsch - NRRI

Senior Research Scientist
M.S. Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota

Will’s professional interests include stream, lake, and wetland ecology; the impact of land use on water quality in the Great Lakes region; and facilitating communication and decision making that is focused on natural resources.

Shima Hosseinpour - NRRI

Strategic Project Manager
M.S., Engineering Management, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Shima is NRRI’s Strategic Project Manager. Her focus in this position is to apply project management tools to plan, monitor, and control NRRI’s extensive projects. She is also managing the NRRI Business Assistance Fund program. Shima is an industrial engineer with experience in managing and leading multidisciplinary engineering projects, and process analysis and improvements.

Norm Will - NRRI

Information Technology Professional
M.S., Computer Science, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Norm creates interactive mapping applications. He manages, maintains, and helps develop websites. He writes the programs used to download and store data from remote data acquisition devices deployed by NRRI. He also developed the on-line tools used to visualize this data.

Kris Johnson - NRRI

Research Scientist
M.S., Geographic Information Science, University of Minnesota

Kris is a research scientist in NRRI’s Geographic Information Science (GIS) lab. He manages and maintains GIS lab servers that host a variety of web and desktop applications. He also acquires, catalogs, and disseminates spatial data as needed by various partner projects. Additionally, he produces maps and performs spatial data analysis for partner projects. When time and opportunity allows he likes to bring donuts in for his co-workers.

Kristi Nixon - NRRI

Research Scientist
M.S., Conservation Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kristi is a GIS analyst with an educational background in Conservation Biology and Geography.  She is interested in landscape and community ecology, spatial modeling, and web map development to help inform sustainable natural resources management.

Julie Oreskovich - NRRI

Research Scientist (Retired)
B.S. Geology/Biology, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

Julie was a Scientist for the Economic Geology Program. In her years with NRRI, Julie’s focus had been in the industrial minerals field, particularly with processing, testing and firing of Minnesota’s clay resources and product development. She has a special interest and extensive experience in bloating clays. She is a Licensed Professional Geologist in the state of Minnesota.

Paul Meysembourg - NRRI

Research Scientist
B.A., Geography, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Paul’s research interest include the application of Geographic Information Systems to better understand the Great Lakes region.

Jane Reed - NRRI

Web Developer
M.S. Geology, University of Delaware

Jane works with NRRI teams to develop websites and web applications for internal and grant driven projects. Her work includes sitemap and content planning, website design and development, graphics creation, and website text and functionality updates.

Elaine Ruzycki - NRRI

Senior Research Scientist
M.S., Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota

Elaine’s professional interests include lake and stream water quality management and restoration; phytoplankton ecology, algal taxonomy, physiology and community composition. She is co-manager of the NRRI Central Analytical laboratory.

Shannon Werbeach - UMN TC

Graduate Student
B.A., Geography/Philosophy, The Ohio State University

Shannon’s professional interests include federal land policy, natural resource law, conservation of vulnerable ecosystems through governance, natural resource science and management, and political ecology .

Vanessa Perry - UMN TC

Graduate Student (Graduated)
Ph.D., Natural Resource Science and Management, University of Minnesota

Vanessa has a particular interest in applied research that links communities and science to develop best practices for effective management of resources. Her graduate studies focused on individual and community decision making related to natural resource management challenges in both urban and rural areas across Minnesota, including work with farmers in the Red River Basin of Minnesota, new immigrant communities in the Twin Cities Metro, and resource decision makers in the Duluth, MN area.

Jenn Shepard - UMN TC

Research professional

Jenn’s natural resources science and management interests include: collaborative management of natural resources, adaptive governance of complex environmental problems, and natural resource conflict management