CCS People

Our People


The Team

Heidi Ballard
Founder, Faculty Director
Heidi’s research and practice have formed the foundation for the Center. She is leading the development of its overarching vision and mission, and building partnerships and collaborations across the University and beyond. She is Professor and Chancellor’s Fellow at the UC Davis School of Education. Read more

Ryan Meyer
Executive Director
Ryan leads strategic, financial, and operational development of the Center, and collaborates on many of its research initiatives. He has studied science and society, and worked with governments and scientists to improve the links between science and decision making. Read more

Maryam Ghadiri
Postdoctoral Scholar
Maryam is the postdoctoral fellow on the LEARN CitSci project. She was previously the director of education and research at the Environmental Learning Center (ELC), a non-profit organization in Vero Beach, Florida. She holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and a Master’s in Conservation Biology, both from the University of Tehran, and finished her PhD in Ecology & Free-Choice STEM Learning at the Center for Global Soundscapes at Purdue University. Read more

Erin Bird
Postdoctoral Scholar
Erin is a former high school science teacher and has founded and directed environmental education and farm-based education programs throughout the Bay Area. Her research interests focus on social and environmental justice through and within science education. She is leading our research on the Our Forests project.

Laci Gerhart-Barley
Faculty Fellow
Lecturer PSOE, Department of Evolution and Ecology
Laci is leading our work on the the City Nature Challenge 2019. She is also using participation in citizen and community science as a component of a new course she is developing on the natural history of the Davis campus (titled Wild Davis) and potentially as part of a research program on assessing impacts of exposure to and participation in original research on students’ scientific literacy, interest in scientific degrees/careers, and perceptions of scientists and scientific inquiry. Read more

Peggy Harte
Education Program Manager
Peggy develops citizen science curriculum as well as professional
learning opportunities for K-12 educators, engaging with students and teachers across a variety of projects ongoing at the center. She is former classroom teacher and elementary science specialist with over 20 years of experience. Among many projects she supports at the center, Peggy is currently directly supporting educators (both formal and informal) through the CitSci on the Student Farm project as well as the STEM Rural Valley Partnership, focusing on how citizen science projects engage students in deepening their connection to the environment as well as their understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards and the application of Common Core State Standards.

Kaitlyn Murray
Kait is an educator and researcher of community leadership whose work focuses on transforming agricultural and environmental education, both in and outside of schools. She is broadly interested in how people with marginalized sexualities and genders – particularly members of the LGBTQ community – navigate and change educational systems. She is interested in the complex relationships between individuals and these educational spaces: how they create them, experience them, resist them, disrupt them, uphold them, transform them. Kait’s work draws upon critical, participatory, humanizing, and feminist methodologies, with a focus on affecting change through both the process and products of research. Kait was recently awarded the 2020 Graduate Group in Education Award for Academic Distinction.

Amanda Lindell 
Amanda is a former high school science teacher and informal science educator in New York City. She most recently oversaw teacher professional development, youth programming, and in-park interpretation at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her research interests focus on the development of environmental science identity development of urban middle and high school students in order to build equitable experiences in environmental education for young people in cities.

Chris Jadallah
Chris is a PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the School of Education. He received his B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley, where he was also a researcher and project manager studying agroecology and native bee conservation. His research interests focus on people-place relationships and the connections between public participation in science and learning, with the ultimate goal of supporting community-based conservation and social-ecological resilience.

Mackenzie Carter
Mackenzie is currently volunteering with our Center while she applies to the UC Davis Food Science and Technology graduate program. Mackenzie’s goal is to create a citizen and community science project to study the microbes in fermented vegetables by developing a protocol for participants to send her samples of fermented foods they make at home and an online community to share questions, recipes, and results. Her research background includes tissue engineering at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine and biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona.

Michael Dobbins
Michael was most recently a postdoctoral scholar in the departments of Environmental Science and Policy and Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis, where he worked on the application and advancement of statistical methods in ecology, with an emphasis on models that address common issues in wildlife ecology, such as sparse data and imperfect detection. He has applied these methods to study wildlife populations, species interactions, and human-wildlife conflict in the US, Belize, China, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In his new position at the Center for Community and Citizen Science, Michael will use his experience in occupancy models to investigate the impacts of human activity and resource use along California’s coastline using data from MPA Watch, an innovative citizen science monitoring program that monitors human uses of ocean and coastal resources. The results should help to improve MPA Watch practices, and inform the management of marine protected areas in California.

Minh Tham
Minh is graduate of UC Davis Cinema Digtal Media and Design.  Minh joined CCS in summer 2020 working as a communications assistant also working with video and audio editing in addition to working to implement a coherent design style for CCS. He hopes to work to create videos and streamline the platform of CCS in order to create more digital outreach.

Connor Rosenblatt
After years of waking up at 4 a.m. and relentlessly trudging through tick-filled brush to try and (often unsuccessfully) track birds, Connor is excited to move into the social science realm and to start studying the volunteers who study the birds. Connor began his PhD at UC Davis in Fall 2020, and will be working in both the Center for Community and Citizen Science, as well as the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior. Although his project is still in the infant stages of development, Connor hopes to study factors related to volunteer retention in citizen science programs that monitor bird collisions with buildings in urban areas.

Roxanne Liang
Roxanne is an undergraduate student studying Environmental Policy and Planning at UC Davis. She joined the Center in spring of 2021 as a student intern to assist in the promotion of the 2021 City Nature Challenge.


Alexandria Tillet Miller
Alexandria is a fourth-year student interested in community resilience, health promotion, and intersectional environmentalism. She is a Sustainability Peer Educator for UC Davis Student Housing where she provides resources and guidance on zero-waste and environmental education. Alexandria has worked for different non-profit organizations in the Bay Area focusing on interventions of sustainability and community development. She is also a researcher for Arnold Lab, exploring regulatory and governance issues related to cannabis policy.

UC Davis Affiliates

If you are interested in becoming an affiliate of the Center, and becoming an active member of our campus community, let us know about it here

Alfonso Aranda
PhD Student, Geography Graduate Group
Alsfonso is working on a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project focused on environmental health in farmworker communities.

Monique Borgerhoff-Mulder
Professor, Department of Anthropology Evolutionary Wing
Professor Borgerhoff Mulder is a human behavioral ecologist (HBE) working on projects relating to life history, inequality, natural resource management, and patterned cultural variation. Together with Professor Tim Caro and the Department of Forestry and Non-Renewable Natural Resources (Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar), and with support of Max Planck Institute funding, she is developing an education and citizen science center in Pemba (Tanzania)”. Read more

Pernille Sporon Boving 
Academic Coordinator, Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology
I coordinate all the outreach, engagement and logistics for the APPLES workshops. APPLES is an NSF-funded project that provides hands-on training for K-12+ educators in research methods used to study plant phenological responses to climate change in the Arctic. We would like to broadcast our professional development workshops to K-12+ science teachers through a formal UCD interface. Read more

Jefferey Clary
Associate Director, UC Davis Natural Reserves


Jonathan Eisen
Professor, UC Davis Genome Center
Medical Microbiology and Immunology Population Biology
Eisen’s research focuses on the ecology, evolution and function of communities of microbes (aka microbiomes). Dr. Eisen has run or been involved in a diversity of participatory/citizen microbiology projects including ones involving microbes that live in and on cats (aka Kittybiome), the Space Station (Project MERCCURI), and humans. Read more

Carmia Feldman
Assistant Director, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden
The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden (APG) is interested in collaborating on citizen science projects. The Arboretum and Public Garden has incredible resources for projects related to plants, biodiversity, horticulture, conservation, restoration and more. We are interested in working with faculty, staff and students to develop appropriate projects. Read more

Benjamin Finkelor
Executive Director, UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute
Benjamin Finkelor is Executive Director of the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute, an institution advancing impactful energy and energy efficiency solutions. Prior to joining the EEI, he served in a variety of roles within the clean technology sector.

Sara Giordano
Assistant Professor 
HATCH Feminist Science Shop
College of Letters & Science; Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
They with Dr. Rana Jaleel are co-founder and co-director of the first and only U.S. based feminist arts and science shop, HATCH: Feminist Arts and Science Shop at UC Davis, which is currently funded through the Mellon Foundation. Science shops typically provide space for non-academic communities to participate in the creation of scientific and technological research agendas. HATCH builds on this by including the arts and specifically orienting our research agendas towards social justice ends. Read more

Jonathan London
Associate Professor, Community and Regional Development  
Director of Center for Regional Change
Jonathan London is an educator, researcher, and community-builder with experience in participatory research, rural community development, and community engaged planning. Read more

Lee Martin 
Associate Professor, School of Education 
Lee Martin studies participation in making and the maker movement as activities that may help youth become more flexible and adaptive in their thinking and problem solving. In addition, he examines processes of identity development and sense of connection to STEM fields. Read more

Sarah McCullough
Associate Director, LWOS Science & Technology Studies
I work on participatory research in mobility justice, with a strong emphasis on making planning processes more engaged with local residents. This is part of a broader motivation to make research more responsive to community needs and involve communities in the process of undertaking research. Read more

Colin Milburn
Gary Snyder Chair in Science and the Humanities; Director, Science and Technology Studies Program; Professor of English, Science and Technology Studies, and Cinema and Digital Media
From an STS perspective, I have studied citizen science projects in nanotechnology, focusing on the role of narrative frames for engagement. I also work on video games for citizen science. I am currently involved in a re-design of Foldit. Read more

Sarah Oktay
Director of Strategic Engagement, Natural Reserve System;
Stebbins Cold Canyon Director
Sarah’s research focuses on climate change, carbon transport and harbor processes. After 9-11, she mapped the chemical signature of the World Trade Center ash and tracked it in the Hudson River. She strongly feels that scientists should communicate with the public and provide education services to all ages, and that place-based learning is the best route to achieve that. Read more

Gail Patricelli
Professor and Chancellor’s Fellow, Department of Evolution and Ecology
Professor Patricelli is collaborating with the Center to involve youth in research on sage grouse mating behavior. Read more

Eric Post
Professor, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology
Post studies climate change, wildlife conservation, Arctic ecosystems, phenology, and species interactions. He is also involved in running the program APPLES, which is preparing middle school, high school, and undergraduate educators in polar research to engage their students in similar studies in the classroom. Read more 

Mark Schwartz
Professor of Environmental Science and Policy
Professor Schwartz advises the Center, and has collaborated on a citizen science initiative at Stebbins Research Reserve. Read more

Kate Scow
Professor, Land and Water Resources
I direct the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility, a long term research experiment on agricultural sustainability and resilience. We host many workshops and field days, and connect to broad network of farmers, public and private sector actors, researcher and students. We are interested in doing much more in the area of citizen science particularly around the areas of regenerative agriculture, agroecology and climate change. We are a hub that is in the position to do a lot more. Read more

Heather Seagale 
Education and Outreach Director, Tahoe Environmental Research Center
Heather and colleagues have developed the Citizen Science Tahoe app to collect data on nearshore of Lake Tahoe (water quality/color/clarity, algae, litter, various species, aquatic invasive species). Read more

Jay Stachowicz
Professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology
I am a field ecologist and help run a distributed ecological network of seagrass communities throughout the northern hemisphere: Read more



Keith Taylor
Assistant Economic Development Specialist in Cooperative Extension,
Department of Human Ecology
Dr. Taylor is a Community Economic Development (CED) Specialist, interested in economic development approaches that are enduring, build localized self-reliance, and account for volatile market and political forces by breaking dependency. Toward these ends, Keith focuses on three CED relevant areas in the context of Californian, American, and international communities: Community participation and governance, economic development through local and alternative business development and market access and community power through scale.

Shane Waddell
Quail Ridge Reserve Director, John Muir Institute for the Environment, UC Davis Natural Reserve System
I am interested in place-based research and educational programs cutting across many disciplines and departments on campus, and willing to host citizen and community science projects. Read more

Anthony Wexler
Director, Air Quality Research Center; Distinguished Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, & Land, Air and Water Resources
Anthony Wexler works as director of the Air Quality Research Center, supporting collaborative research that educates and informs decision making around issues of air quality and climate change. His research interests include air pollution and applying engineering concepts to physiological systems. Read more

Neal Williams
Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology
Professor Williams interests include Pollination ecology, bee biology with emphasis on foraging behavior, ecology and evolution of trophic specialization and plant-pollinator Interactions, landscape change and community dynamics, ecosystem services and conservation. Read more

Louie Yang
Associate Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Professor Yang’s work on Monarch butterflies has engaged youth in monitoring activities as part of an after school program. Read more

Tabatha Yang  
Education and Outreach Coordinator, Bohart Museum of Entomology
I helped coordinate the MMMILC (Monitoring Milkweed-Monarch Interactions for Learning and Conversation) project that connects teenagers with research on monarchs and milkweeds. Read more

Alumni and External Affiliates

Mireya Bejarano
Mireya is a fourth-year Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology student at UC Davis. Using her conservation knowledge and past experience of working at the Road Ecology Center she aims to provide aid to the various monitoring projects surrounding dam removal in Southern California. She is interested in the positive, long-lasting impacts that citizen science and conservation can have on native wildlife and habitats when combined.

Meg Pannkuk
Meg received her Masters’ in Community Development at UC Davis, studying policy implications of shelter practices for the unhoused. At the Center, she coordinated research on citizen science and civic participation with Public Lab. Her former lives as baker, rafter, farmer, and carpenter help inform her work and curiosity about how knowledge is expressed and used for action.

Sara Ludwick
Sara recently received a degree in Environmental Science and Management studying Climate Change and Air Quality. She is curious about the factors that contribute to people’s attitudes toward the environment and the ways people can be motivated to act as environmental stewards. As a student intern with CCS, she researched climate-related community and citizen science projects with Ryan Meyer.

Sinead Brien
Sinead’s background is in secondary level science education and environmental education in Mozambique and the United States. Her current focus is on ways citizen science can support formal science education and contributes to youth development of science identity. She is pursuing her PhD at Michigan State University.

Colin Dixon
As an educator and researcher, Colin’s research at CCS examined youth development and science learning as a tool for young people to use in their lives and communities. Colin has completed his PhD and is now a Research Associate at the Concord Consortium.

Cristian Galindo 
Cristian is a sociology student here at Davis with a passion for the outdoors. His first exposure to CCS was through Dr. Ballard’s environmental education class where the students were involved in downloading the iNaturlist app and taking pictures of creatures seen on a daily basis. This experience sparked his interest to become more involved in learning how CCS benefits science today.

Emily Harris
Emily is a researcher and teacher educator interested in teacher and youth science learning, and identity work in the context of citizen science and school gardens. She received her PhD from UC Davis in 2017, and worked on the Youth-focused Community and Citizen Science project from its inception.  Read more

Jennifer Metes
Jen completed her MS with the Community Development Graduate group at UC Davis. Her work at the Center focused on the recruitment and retention of participants in coastal citizen science and how the use of citizen science data informs natural resource management and decision-making. Previously, Jen taught environmental education in several National Parks and worked as a field technician for the US Forest Service.

Déana Scipio
Dé served as a postdoctoral fellow for the first year of the Center’s LEARNCitSci project. She received her PhD at the University of Washington, and recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at TERC, a nonprofit education research and development organization based in Massachusetts. Dé now directs the Graduate Program in Education for Environment and Community at Islandwood.

Eric Tymstra
Eric is a PhD student in the Graduate Group in Ecology in Professor Gail Patricelli’s lab. His research focuses on sexual selection, foraging, and conservation. Eric has spent the last two years working with high schoolers in California’s Eastern Sierra to help the BLM monitor grouse lek (the breeding ground male grouse display on) attendance. Students also designed and carried out their own research projects in the Spring of 2018. By interviewing students before and after the project, Eric plans to use his work as a case study for how students develop agency through participation in science both in the field and online.

Lina Yamashita
Lina is the Medical Programs Director for Volunteers in Asia, based in San Francisco. She received her PhD from UC Davis in 2017, and worked with Heidi Ballard on the NSF-funded EESIP project. Lina is interested in using the food system to explore as well as deepen students’ and teachers’ understandings of the social, environmental, cultural, and economic aspects of sustainability. Read more

Michael Montgomery
Michael is a fourth-year undergraduate at UC Davis. His major is Marine and Coastal Science – Oceans and the Earth System, and he plans to declare two minors: Professional Writing and History. Since 2018, he has been editor and lead author of the Monterey Audubon Society’s quarterly newsletter, The Sanderling. He joined the Center fall 2019 as a writing intern.

Juliana Yee
Juliana is an undergraduate Environmental Science and Management major studying Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation, with a minor in Education. She was interested in how citizen science can help change people’s attitudes towards environmental conservation. Juliana was working as a student intern with CCS as part of the organizational team for the Sacramento Region City Nature Challenge.

McCall Fellows
McCall Fellows is an undergraduate Economics major. She is interested in youth engagement in science and how citizen science can lead to civic engagement. McCall was working as a student intern with CCS providing support with communication surrounding the center’s research. 

Rabida Abduwali
Rabida is an undergraduate Design major. She is interested in visual communication and wants to deliver important information to the public in an interesting way. She was working as a student intern with CCS and hopes to expand her knowledge of scientific research.

Teska Hapig-Ward
Teska is an undergraduate student studying ecological management and restoration. She is primarily interested in education and community-based approaches to conservation. Teska was working on the community-based monitoring project focused on dam removals, and she hopes to continue exploring the relationship between community, education, and social sciences as a tool for restoration practices.

Skye Kelty 
PhD Candidate, Center for Health and Environment
The Knights Landing Environmental Health Project is a collaboration between UC Davis Environmental Health researchers and the residents of Knights Landing. We are connecting university researchers and resources to meet needs in the Knights Landing Community. Read more

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