Four new faculty members join the College of Natural Resources and Environment
The College of Natural Resources and Environment welcomes four new faculty members for the 2022-23 academic year.
Haldre Rogers will join the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the fall semester as an associate professor. Previously an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University, Rogers’s research explores the role of animals as pollinators, seed dispersers, and predators in forest systems. She also examines the cascading effects of species loss from forests and works to develop strategies for restoring ecological function by conserving existing species and rewilding degraded ecosystems.
“My primary research program is in the Mariana Islands, where the invasive brown tree snake has caused the loss of nearly all forest birds from the island of Guam,” she said. “We are using this unfortunate situation on Guam, paired with nearby islands that still have birds, to learn about the importance of birds in forests. My lab will also start a new project in Virginia which explores whether plants that are dispersed by animals will be able to keep up with the pace of climate change.”
Rogers received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University.
Junghwan Kim will join the Department of Geography as an assistant professor. He recently served as a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard University’s Center for Geographic Analysis at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science.
Kim’s research focuses on investigating environmental health and human mobility in cities by utilizing advanced geospatial data science methods, such as spatiotemporal modeling, visualization, big geospatial data, machine learning, geospatial artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing.
“My overarching research goal is to advance our understanding of the complex role of human mobility in people’s exposures to environmental factors and health-promoting environments in cities by using advanced geospatial data science methods,” he said. “Based on the results of my research, I seek to develop policy and planning recommendations to promote people’s health and well-being and mitigate inequality in environmental exposure. I am excited to collaborate actively with faculty members across Virginia Tech to achieve research goals.”
Kim will develop and teach several courses, including Principles of GIS this fall. He looks forward to developing experiential learning courses that allow students to use geospatial data science to improve environmental health and human mobility in communities throughout Virginia as well as in low-and middle-income countries.
Kim earned a Ph.D. in geography and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his bachelor’s degree in urban planning and engineering from Yonsei University in South Korea.
Eduardo Molina was named a collegiate assistant professor in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials in April. “I am very excited about this opportunity to work with my colleagues and my students, who share a strong commitment to sustainability and making a positive impact in our society,” he said.
Molina has worked with packaging systems and design students and in the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design (CPULD) since he arrived at Virginia Tech as a graduate student in 2015. While earning his master’s degree, he served as the manager of CPULD’s Corrugated Packaging Materials Lab. He played a major role in efforts that led to the center’s recognition as the only facility in the Americas certified to conduct corrugated packaging testing for IKEA. He was named CPULD associate director in January 2021.
Molina completed his Ph.D. in December 2020 while also teaching full-time as an instructor in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials. He teaches courses on a variety of topics, from computer-aided packaging design to how packaging interacts with industrial systems such as warehousing, supply chains, and production.
His research focuses on developing the knowledge needed to increase the sustainability of packaging systems though different methods, including the application of sustainable biomaterials in shipping containers. He also works with students in the Corrugated Packaging Materials Laboratory to conduct research and evaluate the quality of corrugated fiberboard (cardboard) in order to help the industry become more efficient and sustainable.
Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Molina worked at Kimberly-Clark as a planning analyst for Central America and the Caribbean. Through his work in the industry, he became interested in looking for new ways to optimize the supply chain.
In the spring, Elizabeth "Beth" Nyboer, a freshwater ecologist and conservation social scientist, will join the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation as an assistant professor. Nyboer’s research explores how anthropogenic stressors affect freshwater ecosystems and the fish, fisheries, and fishing communities they support.
“My specific areas of interest include understanding the impacts of climate change on fisheries and fishing communities, building social and ecological resilience in fishery systems, and identifying effective ways to amplify the impact of environmental research in policy and practice,” she said.
Much of Nyboer’s work is based in the world’s Great Lakes, both in East Africa (Lake Victoria, Uganda) and in North America. She anticipates growing and expanding her research in both Great Lake regions and also establishing a program in Virginia.
“At Virginia Tech, I hope to build a research program that focuses on three intersecting lines of inquiry: understanding the ecological effects of environmental stressors on fishes, understanding how environmental change affects fishery-based livelihoods, and providing relevant evidence to inform fishery management, policy, and governance,” she said.
Nyboer has worked internationally in both research and policy contexts, participating as an author on the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report and building long-lasting partnerships with researchers, governments, and fishing communities in Uganda.
She joins Virginia Tech from the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries. A native Canadian, Nyboer earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree from McGill University and her bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University.