Experiencing Drought in the Grasslands of the American West

Research Team

Principal Investigators

Jacqueline Vadjunec

Jacqueline Vadjunec, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator


Jackie is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University. Her interests include environmental governance; common or mixed (public-private) property/ natural resource management; land use and livelihoods of traditional agricultural communities in the Americas; and participatory and mixed research methods. Jackie teaches a variety of human-environment related undergraduate and graduate courses.

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Todd Fagin

Todd Fagin, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator


Todd is a geographical ecologist at the Oklahoma Biological Survey, University of Oklahoma. His interests include land use/land cover change; historical vegetation reconstructions; biogeography and landscape ecology; habitat fragmentation; geographic information systems; and remote sensing. Todd is also affiliate faculty in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma and an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City Community College.

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Brenda Phillips

Brenda Phillips, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator


Brenda is the Associate Dean and Professor of Sociology at Ohio University-Chillicothe. Her interests include emergency management, social vulnerability, community adaptation, disaster recovery, and women and disasters. Brenda serves in a senior mentoring capacity on the project.

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Project Collaborators

Amy Frazier

Amy Frazier, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Amy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University. Her research interests include landscape ecology, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). In particular, she investigates how methods and techniques developed in these fields can be used to examine issues related to scale and scaling. Amy teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes in geospatial techniques including remote sensing and applications of GIS for natural resource management.

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Peter Kedron

Peter Kedron, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Peter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University. His interests include economic geography, socio-ecological interaction, and spatial analysis/statistics. Peter's serves as a project collaborator examining how interactions between patterns and processes of land use vary with geographic differences in governance.

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Postdoctoral Researchers

Nicole Colston

Nicole Colston, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow


Nicole is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University. Her interests include environmental science, environmental education, citizen science, and environmental communication.

Project website: Spotty Rain

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Graduate Research Assistants

Brian Birchler

Brian Birchler

Graduate Research Assistant


Brian is a MS student at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Geography. Brian is interested in participatory mapping and participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS). Brian is studying the spatial vulnerability of drought, as well as the ways in which technology can help to foster resilience

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Austin Boardman

Austin Boardman

Graduate Research Assistant


Austin is a MS student at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Geography. Austin is interested in biogeograpy, landscape ecology, GIS, and remote sensing (sUAS). Austin is studying land use/land cover change dynamics during periods of drought.

Amy Graham

Amy Graham

Graduate Research Assistant


Amy was a Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Geography. Amy is interested in better understanding how gender influences drought perceptions, as well as understanding how drought impacts both men and women differently.

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Fernanda Ramirez Saenz

Fernanda Ramirez Saenz

Graduate Research Assistant


Fernanda is a Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Geography. Fernanda looks at the differentials in access to funds, information, and resources by gender among agriculturalists. Fernanda studies how these differences affect their vulnerability and resilience in facing climate hazards.

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Maria Sol Ramirez Saenz

Maria Sol Ramirez Saenz

Graduate Research Assistant


Maria is a Ph.D. student at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Geography. Maria is interested in small agricultural communities, agricultural policy, environmental vulnerability, and the communication process between government and farmers and ranchers in times of drought.

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Kathryn Wenger

Kathryn Wenger

Graduate Research Assistant


Kathryn was a MS student at Oklahoma State University in the Department of Geography. Kathryn studyied the growth of Center Pivot Irrigation (CPI) in the region since the 1960s. She is interested in better understanding how CPI makes land managers more or less vulnerable to drought events

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Undergraduate Students

Teddy Breig

Teddy Breig

Undergraduate GIS Technician, 2015 - 2016


Teddy was a Cartographic Technician at Oklahoma State University's Cartography Services.

Alex Holland

Alex Holland

Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2015 - Present


Alex is an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma.