270-745- 5982

Western Kentucky University CHNGES

1906 College Heights Blvd., EST 304

Bowling Green, KY 42101

CHNGES is a Center of Excellence
within the WKU Applied Research and Technology Program. We are housed in the WKU Dept of Geography and Geology.

ELIZABETH WILLENBRINK | GRADUATE STUDENT

Elizabeth “EB” Willenbrink hails from Louisville, KY. As recent graduate of CHNGES, she spent her time completing thesis on the communication of karst protection policies to rural agricultural communities in protected areas, specifically Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam. In addition to being a student, EB rocked all of the social media activities for the Center and served under Dr. Leslie North to coordinate all education and outreach activities of the Center. When she isn’t running or working, EB is obsessing over Beyoncé, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. EB is determined to become a strong leading woman in her field! Currently, she is sculpting young minds with Teach for America. Email her at Elizabeth.willenbrink164@topper.wku.edu.

RHIANNON SCOTT | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT

Rhiannon Scott hails from Evansville, Kentucky and worked on her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. While completing her undergraduate studies, she also worked on a research project with Dr. Kambesis on tsunami deposits in the Yucatan Peninsula! Rhiannon is a huge outdoors activist and loves the snow. One of her favorite hobbies is snowboarding. She is also a huge water bug and loves to snorkel. She one day hopes to live close enough to the ocean and the mountains so she can have the luxury of doing both hobbies. Email Rhiannon at Rhiannon.scott199@topper.wku.edu.

ALLISON QUIROGA | GRADUATE STUDENT

Allison Quiroga was born and raised in Northern California, but has lived in many states throughout her high school years. Her most recent move was from Houston, TX to Kentucky and back to Texas after graduation. As a CHNGES graduate student, she researched carbon cycling in glacial environments and contaminant transport in glacial systems. Fun fact, as children, she and her twin sister were known for pranking their teachers. Though their parents wrote their names on their shoes so the teachers could tell them apart, she and her sister would switch one shoe every day before class to be mischievous. Contact Allison at allison.quiroga353@topper.wku.edu.

LOGAN MITCHELL | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT

Logan Mitchell is one of our former talented undergraduate students and acted as one of the Center's math and data gurus! Logan comes from Hebron, Kentucky and recently finished WKU degrees in Meteorology and Chinese. In the past, Logan has worked on the hydrological budgets for Lost River Rise and Blue Hole Four at Lost River. When he wasn't working with CHNGES, Logan also worked part-time with the Kentucky Mesonet doing data and metadata quality assurance AND he conducting research on urban heat islands throughout Kentucky. Logan sure stayed busy! Logan can be reached at Logan.mitchell818@topper.wku.edu.

JAMES GRAHAM | GRADUATE STUDENT

James “Tinman” Graham came to CHNGES from Louisville, KY. He is a former undergraduate and graduate student of the Center where he studied the development of nature-based tourism sites with eye-tracking and GIS technology in Iceland. An avid feline enthusiast, Tinman is always happy to tell you about his world-famous munchkin cat. In the future, Tinman hopes to travel the world and go in all of the caves. And, he is well on his way, having traveled to Iceland (4 times), Australia, Vietnam, and New Zealand for research and Center activities…travel on, James! Contact him at james.graham147@topper.wku.edu.

AUDREY ALEXANDER | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT

Audrey Alexander, came to CHNGES via Cottontown, Tennessee. She was an undergraduate pursing a degree in Environmental Studies in the Department of Geography and Geology. While in the Center Audrey worked on a project partnering with the International Arctic Science Committee to complete the Arctic Science Summit Week 2020 conference’s carbon footprint using the Clean Air, Cool Planet Campus Carbon Calculator. She assisted in conference planning by providing suggestions and guidelines to reduce the ASSW carbon footprint. Environmental communication, arctic climate change impacts, and organizational sustainability are her passions. Although she is no longer with CHNGES, she is using the skills she gained as an Environmental Projects Associate for Trinity Broadcasting Network. When she isn’t conducting research through the Center, she loves traveling, (trying to) cook, watching a good Netflix show and watercolor painting. Also, hit her up for some fresh homemade soaps!

BRITA AUSTIN | GRADUATE STUDENT

Brita Austin comes from a combination of places in Kentucky and Missouri. While at CHNGES, she studied on GIS and sustainability. Specifically, her thesis research focused on investigating the influence of using ESRI story map applications to visualize community sustainability and increase participation in sustainability-related activities. She has left us to work in the environmental consulting firm, working primarily with GIS and is loving every minute! She may be gone, but will never be forgotten around CHNGES as reciting what may be the world’s fastest peter piper tongue twister. Contact Brita at Brittany.austin030@topper.wku.edu.

KIANOOSH EBRAHIMI | GRADUATE STUDENT

Kianoosh Ebrahimi came to WKU from Iran. as a Geoscience alumni is currently completing his doctorate program at WKU in Organizational Leadership. Although, he also serves in a plastic film manufacturing company in KY, he is still religiously committed to his environmental stewardship tasks in the chemical industry he is currently at. His thesis research, which assessed zero waste management at universities, resulted in two publications  including one in the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education and the other in a Geoinformatics proceeding. Before coming to the USA, he acquired his first MSc degree in Risk Management in London, UK with distinction and his bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering Gas Industry from Iran. Kianoosh dreams of becoming a university teacher. He defines himself as a wanderlust, lover of knowing different cultures, and a great cook of Persian cuisine. Reading about politics, history, and various cultures and customs are part of his hobbies.

WHITNEY FROST | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT

Whitney was undergraduate student at WKU and joined the CHNGES team as an intern at our water quality lab, HydroAnalytical. Whitney was born and raised in Columbia, KY and enjoys studying water in all aspects of life. During her time with the Center, she served as the secretary of Western Kentucky University Water Professionals and rann their fantastic Facebook and Twitter pages! Currently, Whitney is applying her GIS skills with her passion for water resources as an employee of Bowling Green Municipal Utilities. In her spare time, Whitney loves kayaking, hiking, and bonfires. She is also passionate about cooking, building things, and photography. And, she doesn't shy away from the jokes, even if it's just with a not-so-funny cheesy/corny joke. Reach her at Whitney.Frost404@topper.wku.edu.

LEAH JACKSON | GRADUATE STUDENT

Leah Jackson hails from a variety of places, but most recently from the West Texas Oil Patch. She earned her undergraduate degree in geology at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Her thesis research involved hydrogeochemically characterizing epikarst processes in telogenetic karst systems within the Pennyroyal Sinkhole Plain in South-Central Kentucky (boy, that’s a mouth-full!). Before pursuing her graduate degree at WKU, Leah published a women’s fiction novel called Sweetwater Farm. She hopes one day to be an instructor for clean water living and climate change mitigation tactics via the development and implementation of education and practicality programs through the PeaceCorps. But, for now, she is working on her Ph.D. in the great state of Michigan.

ANDREW JONES | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT

Andrew Jones is a former undergraduate student researcher in the Center. He came to us from Louisville, KY. His primary research interest is water quality impacts in the Red River Gorge area of Eastern Kentucky. In his free time, Andrew enjoys rock climbing, traveling, and spending time with his wife and new baby. Oh, and then there’s time spent being a chicken keeper…he and his wife have 23 chickens which they keep for eggs.

NICK LAWHON | GRADUATE STUDENT

Nick came to CHNGES from Burkesville, KY. While at the Center, he investigated aquifer processes and evolution in the karstic groundwater systems of Warren County, KY with a specific focus on the Lost River karst aquifer. His aim was to characterize the physical and chemical conditions present during storm flows through the use of high-temporal-resolution data loggers, field sampling of chemical parameters, and computational methods. His purpose was to further understanding of local groundwater systems for city planners, residents, and businesses. Currently, Nick serves as an Environmental Scientist for the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, where he is responsible for writing cumulative hydrologic impact assessments for watersheds impacted by coal mining, as well as reviewing and critiquing acid mine drainage remediation plans, groundwater monitoring plans, subsidence control plans for underground mines, and general mining permit applications. And in his spare time…he moonlights as a wildland firefighter through the Division of Forestry and US Forest Service. Nick has played rugby for more than ten years, including 3 years at WKU, and is an avid whitewater kayaker. Contact him at nick.lawhon@ky.gov.

JAY LIVELY | GRADUATE STUDENT

Jason “Jay” Lively is from Wilbraham, Massachusetts. His thesis research focused on understanding the mechanisms behind ion exchange and selectivity in micro- and nano-porous silicate materials. He is also interested in finding ways that these materials can be applied in industry, medicine and in environmental remediation. In fact, he has left us to work in the pharmaceutical industry using the chemical and technological skillsets he learned during his thesis. We are proud to know he may just be the next person to have a medicine breakthrough. Fun fact, Jay has a love-hate relationship with coffee. It’s his life force, but his wallet hates it…

GILL OUELLETTE | GRADUATE STUDENT

Gil Ouellette hails from Lords Valley, PA. He joined the CHNGES team after completing his undergraduate degree at Pennsylvania State University. During his time at CHNGES, he produced a speleothem-based oxygen isotope proxy record of rainfall on the island of Barbados, as well as assisted in groundwater monitoring activities at Crump's Cave Reserve. He was a regular member of our outreach and education teams, assisting with the Kentucky Science Olympiad and Kentucky State National Geographic Bee competitions. Currently, Gil is working towards earning his PhD from Louisiana State University. As part of his dissertation, he is producing coral-based strontium records of sea surface temperatures in the North Caribbean, as well as assisting in efforts to organize marine proxy archive retention and preservation. Check it out at: https://eos.org/project-updates/saving- our-marine- archives). He has also been working with the South-Central Climate Science Center on Caribbean climate research, as well as assisting with their outreach work with minority undergraduate students in STEM fields. We know he may sometimes get distracted dancing in New Orleans Mardi Gras parades or breaking out in a perfect demonstration of Gangnam style dance, but his real joy comes from training to become a world-class paleoclimatologist. We are proud of your accomplishments, Gil. Reach him at gilman.ouellette@gmail.com.

TARA SORRELS | GRADUATE STUDENT

Tara Sorrels is from Taylorsville, Kentucky, and is a 2016 graduate from WKU. As an undergraduate student, Tara studied international business and completed a honors thesis project on scenario planning for climate change in Icelandic fisheries under the direction of Dr. North. She assisted in the development of the WKU and Iceland partnership, as well as the Climate Change Challenge study abroad program. She is currently pursuing opportunities to enter a career in planning by applying to master’s programs in urban and regional planning. She hopes to focus on environmental justice and climate resiliency in an urban environment. She is an actively involved member in both Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and The Hundred Dollar Solution™. She enjoys trail running, playing games on her Nintendo switch, and hanging out at the library until the library staff makes her leave. You can contact her at tarasorrels14@gmail.com.

ZACHARY SULLIVAN | GRADUATE STUDENT

Zach Sullivan came to CHNGES via Goodlettsville, TN. In an effort to combine is geology background with love of meteorology, his graduate research focused on the interaction between karst geomorphology and its relationship to meteorological phenomenon. Specifically, he investigated if and how karst geomorphology could influence local weather patterns. For CHNGES, Zach was an integral member of our field and data processing teams. Now, Zach is an adjunct professor at Austin Peay State University where he is using his expertise to teach a variety of courses including, Physical Geology, Historical Geology, Our Dynamic Planet, Introduction to Earth Science, and Geography of the Americas, Europe, and Australia. Our avid music lover who plays 3 instruments (guitar, saxophone, and piano), loves concerts, and knows all the Music City hot spots to see a local indie band or country act is missed. Contact Zach at: sullivanz@apsu.edu.

ELLEN TRAHAN | GRADUATE STUDENT

Ellen is a native of Louisville, KY, and earned her undergrad and graduate degrees at WKU in Environmental Health and Geoscience/Environmental Education, respectively. While part of CHNGES, she completed a thesis, which explored the use and efficacy of campus sustainability tours in the United States, focusing on the WKU Green Tour as a case study. She now works as the Sustainability Coordinator for Dining Services at the University of Louisville and aims to increase purchasing of local products, improve campus landfill diversion, and educate students and staff in local and sustainable food issues. Ellen loves good food, is a bit obsessed with tea and travel, has an affinity for puns and bad jokes (to the chagrin of multiple friends), and enjoys to learn random facts about anything and everything. Reach Ellen at: ellbarringer3@gmail.com.

ANISHA TULADHAR | GRADUATE STUDENT

Anisha Tuladhar is a recent graduate of CHNGES. Her research interests include glaciers, hydrogeochemistry, climate change, and water quality. She studied Icelandic glaciers for her Master's thesis to better understand arctic watersheds by a comparative hydrogeochemical study of the melt water system. Her dream job is to travel around the world studying glacial melt water, drinking water, and solving water quality problems.

JACK HUNTER WILLIAMSON | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT

Hunter is a former undergraduate senior at WKU, who majored in Geography and Environmental Studies. In the Center, Hunter assisted with data collection in the field and data processing back in the lab for a variety of our water resource projects. He enjoys traveling and discovering how other countries and ethnic groups handle and adapt to environmental challenges. He is obsessed with the Oregon Ducks and currently lives in Denver, Colorado and works as a project manager for Blue Lotus Outdoors.

Please reload