Matt Burgess (PI)I am an Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies, with a courtesy appointment in Economics. I am also a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and a Core Faculty member of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. My research focuses on natural resource management, endangered species conservation, and political economy and ecology of global sustainability. I use a combination of mathematical and computer modeling, data synthesis, and collaboration with stakeholders, in order to make conceptual advances and link them to practice.
I spend most of my spare time with my wife and two sons--activities typically include anything involving planes, buses, trucks, and bouncy balls. My other hobbies include music, basketball, and golf.
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Ryan Langendorf (Postdoctoral Scholar)My dream is to help people live empirically, making decisions with data rather than principle or intuition. We as a society need to debate desired outcomes rather than their causes. I want to help more than anything. This is why I study causality. What is causality? Don’t worry, you are not alone. There is no single operationalized definition of it, and I would argue causality is a metaphysical concept for our intuition of the apparently mechanical interactions we experience all around ourselves. Then, perhaps more to the point, I reconstruct networks using time series.
How did I wind up building causal networks? Lots of chance and luck. You need only look to my identical twin brother to see how random our paths through life can be. I grew up with him in Chicago before studying in Maine. I then meandered through research gigs in Anchorage, Missouri, Arkansas, and Nevada before coming to Colorado and the Doak lab for a PhD studying ecosystems. But, I am actually drawn more to questions than any particular system, so since graduating I have expanded the kinds of data I work with. At Arpeggio Biosciences I use snapshots of nascent RNA transcription to understand the regulatory functioning of non-coding regions of our genomes in genetic diseases. And now, in the Burgess lab, I am studying the causal autonomy of social systems. We have tremendous troves of high fidelity spatiotemporal observational data on ourselves and our societies, but too many features are coupled such that variables can be combined into compelling stories on the causes of our roles in everything from extinction to poverty to extreme weather. These stories are particularly effective because people tend to side with the norms of their social group over scientific evidence. I try every day to create and disseminate tools able to explain the causes of these most daunting challenges we all face.
Tara Ippolito (Ph.D. Student - Environmental Studies)I am an ENVS PhD student who completed an undergraduate degree in mathematics at University of Redlands. I am interested in questions at the intersection of development, the environment, and data science. In my spare time, I enjoy trail running and making homemade pasta. I am also deeply passionate about ice cream and eat it at least once a week.
Charlotte Chang (David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow)I am a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow. Beginning in 2020, I will join the faculty at Pomona College as an Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology. My research combines theoretical and statistical models and broadly focuses on socio-ecological systems to improve conservation science and practice. I develop models and methods for researchers and practitioners to quantify how different stakeholders interact with the environment, ranging from conservation constituencies in different countries to illicit wildlife hunting to managing agroforests to better support habitat specialist taxa.
In all of my projects, I work with local community leaders, practitioners, and colleagues. My collaborators are leaders in conservation science and practice in the US, China, and India, and include Ruichang Quan (Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), Chinese Academy of Sciences), Mingxia Zhang (XTBG), Sophie Williams (Bangor University and XTBG), Krithi Karanth (Wildlife Conservation Society, India and Centre for Wildlife Studies), Yuta Masuda (The Nature Conservancy), and Zhijun Ma (Fudan University). I have benefited from generous mentorship and I seek to foster inclusive excellence in society and science through research mentoring, community service, and structured academic programs.
Vincent Wroble (Summer Research Associate, 2019)I graduated from CU summa cum laude in Political Science with and minor in Economics and a certificate in western American studies in May 2019. I previously interned in both the Colorado State Senate and the U.S. Congress. My article on small unmanned aerial vehicles and how they can be most effectively utilized is pending publication by the U.S. Naval Institute. In my spare time, I raise puppies for wheelchair assistance.