EES Faculty News

In addition to our incoming students, EES has some new faces joining its faculty this academic year.  EES’s new Interim Director is Dr. Brian Olsen. Dr. Olsen is replacing Dr. Sarah Nelson, who left the university in September to become the Director of Research at the Appalachian Mountain Club. Congratulations, Dr. Nelson, and welcome, Dr. Olsen!

Dr. Olsen, an Associate Professor of Biology & Ecology, is also currently the chair of the Wildlife, Fisheries & Conservation Biology department.  Current research addresses conservation issues in Atlantic coastal marshes, Maine’s rocky intertidal zone, and the warming Arctic, as well as how wildlife, especially birds, is adapting to our changing landscapes.  Dr. Olsen is a veteran of EES, as he served as the EES Graduate Coordinator from 2015-2018.

Dr. Sonja Birthisel joins EES as an instructor of two EES courses this fall semester and advisor of incoming students.  A proud alumna of the EES graduate programs, Dr. Birthisel completed her Masters in EES in 2013 and PhD in 2018. Her research focus is agroecology, and she is currently engaged in several projects aiming to help Maine farmers adapt to and mitigate climate change. She has won numerous awards for her academic achievements and service to the University, including the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’s 2018 Outstanding Service Award and the EES Program’s 2015 Correll Fellowship.

A search for a permanent EES Director will be begin this academic year—stay tuned!