Leadership & Staff
Dr. Diana Wall, University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University was appointed as the Founding Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability in 2008. A professor in the Department of Biology and Senior Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Diana is responsible for helping faculty and students contribute to progress towards a sustainable future.
A soil ecologist and environmental scientist, Diana is actively engaged in research exploring how life in soil (microbial and invertebrate diversity) contributes to healthy, fertile and productive soils and thus to society, and the consequences of human activities on soil globally. Her research on soil biota, particularly soil nematodes, extends from agroecosystems to arid ecosystems. Diana has spent more than 25 seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys examining how global changes impact soil biodiversity, ecosystem processes and ecosystem services. She currently serves as Science Chair for the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative.
Diana served as President of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the Society of Nematologists. She is a recipient of many awards recognizing her research including the 2015 Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin, the 2013 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the SCAR President’s Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research and the Soil Science Society of America Presidential Award. Wall Valley, Antarctica was named in 2004 to recognize her research. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Ecological Society of America and the Society of Nematologists and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She received a B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, Lexington.
Peter Backlund has devoted his career to the planning, management and leadership of complex research organizations. His interests include the relationship of human activities, climate change, and other environmental changes; assessment of climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and response strategies; development and use of information and observational technologies for environmental research and education; use of scientific research for decision-making and public policy; and improving the communication of scientific information to non-technical audiences. Peter Backlund was part of the leadership team of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) from 2001-2013, where he led strategic planning, oversaw relationships with sponsors and other research organizations, and developed a series of interdisciplinary projects that combined atmospheric, social, health, ecological, and hydrological science. Before joining NCAR, Peter was a senior advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 1995-2001, where he focused on climate change science, assessment and policy; evaluation, planning, and coordination of environmental science programs and budgets; and communication of environmental science and technology issues to senior officials, industry, the academic community, the public, and the Congress. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Peter Backlund helped manage Earth science activities at NASA HQ from 1991-1995, contributing to development of the Earth Observing System (EOS) and other projects with Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, India, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Russia, ESA, EUMETSAT, and the United Nations. From 1988-1991, Peter held positions with SM Systems Research Corporation, LRS Associates, and Science Applications International Corporation, where he supported NASA and other agencies.
Dr. Kathleen Galvin is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, and Senior Research Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. She is co-director of the Institute for Society, Landscape and Ecosystem Change. She serves as Advising Faculty for the Department of Sociology and the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at CSU. Trained as a biological anthropologist (Ph.D., State University of New York-Binghamton; M.A., B.A. Colorado State University) she has conducted interdisciplinary human ecological research in Africa and for the past 20 years and more recently in Kazakhstan. She is interested in issues of pastoral land use, conservation, climate variability and resilience and adaptation strategies of pastoral populations. Her current research explores the dynamics of the coupled natural and human system of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem. She examines the importance of spatial complexity and the costs of fragmentation of pastoral ecosystems around the world. This has resulted in the 2008 publication of the book, Fragmentation in Semi-Arid and Arid Landscapes. Consequences for Human and Natural Systems (Galvin et al., eds, Springer) She is currently leading a group to investigate pastoral household decision-making under uncertainty such as climate change across sites around the world.
Temporary Assignment with NEON
Gene Kelly will assume the role of Deputy Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station and Associate Dean for Extension in the College of Agricultural Science in October 2016. For the past year, he served as the chief visiting scientific officer for the National Ecological Observatory Network of the National Science Foundation. He is a professor of pedology, has served as the head of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, and as the SoGES Assistant Director for Research since 2009. Gene’s scientific specialization is in pedology and geochemistry with primary interests in the biological weathering of soil and studies of soil degradation and global biogeochemical cycles. His current research centers around the influence of climate change and land use on soil degradation and sustainability in water limited systems worldwide. He serves as an advisor to the United States Department of Agriculture with the National Cooperative Soil Survey and several major research programs. He is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from CSU and his Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.
Moira Sharkey is Assistant Director of Development for Research and Interdisciplinary Programs. She engages individuals, corporations, and foundations in securing philanthropic support for SOGES, as well as the Partnership for Air Quality, Climate, and Health. Moira’s development and alumni relations experience began in annual giving at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the MIT Sloan School of Management. Previously, Moira worked as Director of Alumni Relations for the CSU Alumni Association, managing alumni engagement and activities across the nation. Moira volunteers with her alma mater as a fundraiser and with PawsCo, an entirely volunteer-run dog and cat rescue. Moira holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Gettysburg College and a Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Creighton University.
Jarvis Choury manages the School’s budget, human resources and daily operations. He provides leadership for all business related activities of SOGES including, but not limited to, financial management and reporting, budgeting, human resource management, grant administration, program development, policy implementation and compliance, participation in accreditation activities and fundraising. Jarvis holds a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Sociology. He worked as a budget officer in the College of Agriculture at CSU for 3 years prior to coming on board with the School.
Dale Lockwood is the Academic Coordinator for SoGES. He provides advising to the undergraduates minoring in Global Environmental Sustainability, works with the Curriculum Committee to design and develop new courses and curricula in sustainability and meets with students interested in learning more about SoGES and the courses offered. A population ecologist, his work involves the analysis of complex population dynamics of rangeland grasshoppers, modeling larval dispersal in marine organisms to better implement marine reserves and work on the ecological genetics of plant species related to storage in seed banks. His research has been honored with one paper being named the Outstanding Paper in Genetic Resources by the Crop Society of America and another named one of the most important papers in the Journal of Range Management in the last 50 years. He works in the area of science/policy interface having chaired the Environmental Advisory Board of Larimer County and as vice president of Front Range on Track, a non-profit working to encourage passenger rail development as a more sustainable transportation solution for the Front Range of Colorado. Dr. Lockwood teaches courses for the School and in the Biology Department and has been nominated for Honors Professor Award, CSU Teacher of the Year and Greek Life Outstanding Faculty. His outreach includes coaching Science Olympiad teams at the middle school and high school levels. Dr. Lockwood has a PhD in Population Biology from the University of California, Davis, a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from New Mexico State University.
To contact Dr. Dale Lockwood, email GESadvising@colostate.edu or call (970) 492-4070. Advising office hours are in room 131 Johnson Hall.
Aleta Rudeen Weller is the Research and Outreach Coordinator for SoGES, focused on connecting the School’s activities to the CSU and Fort Collins communities while promoting the School’s sustainability goals and research efforts. She coordinates and manages Global Challenges Research Teams, Faculty Fellows and Sustainability Leadership Fellows, and facilitates other collaborative research activities centered on global sustainability issues. Aleta has an interdisciplinary background in communication, conflict management and collaboration in natural resources. She has worked on a variety of projects that link science and management; has a research and applied background in collaborative process; and is a certified mediator. Aleta has a Master of Science degree from Colorado State University in Rangeland Ecosystem Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Northern Arizona University. Prior to coming on board at SoGES, Aleta worked as the Director of Outreach and Leadership Development for the Society for Range Management.
Kristin is the full-time Communications Coordinator who handles all SoGES website and social media platforms, communications collateral and multi-media content, as well as marketing and branding strategies for the school. Kristin is a CSU alumni ('09) with a BFA in Graphic Design and 20+ years experience in the field. Her background is rich with designing for non-profits and not-for-profits. Prior to coming to SoGES, Kristin worked at the Fort Collins Food Co-operative as a Design and Marketing Coordinator.
Ryan Deming is the Web & Video Coordinator for the School of Global Environmental Sustainability and a recent graduate from Colorado State University. Graduating in the fall of 2013 with a degree in Applied Computing Technology and a minor in Music, his main focus at SoGES is maintaining the online assets of the school including websites and video catalogs.
Ryan continues to volunteer with the Colorado State Music program by assiting the athletic bands with videography and social media.
Elizabeth Bach is the Executive Director of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative based at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. She is a soil microbial ecologist interested in exploring how fungal and bacterial communities influence ecosystem functions, specifically carbon and nitrogen cycling. She also investigates interactions between soil microbes and soil structure. Her research focuses on restored grassland systems in central North America. She received her Ph. D. from Iowa State University and M.Sc. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Laura is the full-time Event and Administrative Coordinator for SoGES, focused on logistics and planning. She is responsible for event planning, travel booking and reimbursements, purchasing, conference services, main office management, and many other support services. Laura is a CSU Alumni, having received her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies in 2009. Prior to coming to SoGES, Laura worked as an Events Coordinator through the City of Fort Collins for 6 years.
Emily is an undergraduate student studying Political Science focused on Environmental Policy with a minor in Global Environmental Sustainability. With a passion for social change and science, she decided to pursue sustainability related issues in the political realm. She started off participating in student-led green clubs and service clubs in high school where she gained leadership experience. She is excited to take on her first year as Director of the Student Sustainability Center for the 2016-2017 school year.
Craig Starger is the Research Enabling Lead at the Colorado Global Hub of Future Earth. He is based at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University.
Laurel Milliken maintains the IT assets and infrastructure at the Future Earth secretariat. She is a graduate of Colorado State University with degrees in political science, business, and computer information systems. Prior to joining Future Earth, she worked in software, banking, and teaching English. Laurel is passionate about creating efficient and user-friendly technical solutions.