Faculty & Staff Bios

DDCSP@NAU Faculty and Staff

Alatorre 230

Ramón DC Alatorre, Program Coordinator

Born and raised in Colorado, DC's childhood confusion can perhaps be summarized by the fact that he invited his own (very pregnant) mother to the hospital for the birth of his baby brother. A team sports athlete most of his younger life, DC hung up his soccer/frisbee cleats when he went to college at Florida International University and began pursuing individual/partner adventures. In those pursuits, DC has ridden his bicycle across the country, completed an Ironman triathlon, become a professional dogsled driver, and currently enjoys climbing rocks with ropes. DC earned a B.S. in Chemistry, specializing in forensic DNA analysis and working on a research project that involved Big Foot. After a term of service with AmeriCorps, DC attended the University of North Carolina and earned a M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering while doing research related to a Constructed Wetlands Water Recycling System. Starting in 2013, DC's passions for adventure, the environment, conservation and the propagation of a sustainable ethic, brought him into the world of Environmental Education as an Instructor at the Keystone Science School as well as leading extended expeditions with various institutions. DC is excited to become a NOLS Instructor this spring, and is looking forward to working with the staff and students during the DDCSP at NAU.

Dr. Brett Dickson

Dr. Brett Dickson, Principal Investigator

Brett is a conservation biologist, landscape and wildlife ecologist, ecological modeler, and fierce advocate for strong inference. He brings over 20 years of conservation and entrepreneurial experience to the roles of president and chief scientist of Conservation Science Partners, a nonprofit scientific collective that addresses critical questions in conservation biology and landscape ecology using advanced techniques in data analysis, modeling, remote sensing, and geographic information systems. The recent recipient of a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship with the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), he serves on the board of directors for the North American section of SCB and the editorial board for the journal Conservation Biology. He also is a research faculty member in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability and co-director of the Lab of Landscape Ecology and Conservation Biology at Northern Arizona University. Brett brings additional leadership and corporate experience from a previous career in industrial design and product development.

Cari Kimball

Cari Kimball, Assistant Program Coordinator

Cari is the Senior Program Coordinator for the Landscape Conservation Initiative and the Olajos-Goslow Endowed Chair where she spends much of her time supporting LCI's field education programs, including the DDCSP@NAU and the Grand Canyon Semester. She also dabbles in cross-discipline communication projects and science-art collaboratives like Fires of Change. Cari hails from Billings, Montana and attended graduate school at the University of Montana where she earned her M.S. in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on land-use planning collaboration and conservation policy. Her previous work experience includes political campaign and nonprofit development coordination, communication work, and a brief stint coaching gymnastics. Cari fills her free time with trail-running, rock-climbing, and entirely too much tea-drinking.


Dr. Melissa Mark, Principal Investigator and Program Director

Melissa, Director of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University and served as a National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University. Her research focused on avian evolutionary ecology and conservation in Latin America, primarily Nicaragua, where she also engaged in participatory action research with local communities to advise farming cooperatives on the impact of land management practices and ecotourism initiatives on avian diversity. She has taught ecology and conservation field courses in Brazil and Nicaragua, mentored students from the US and Latin America, and developed environmental education curriculum while serving as a Fulbright Scholar. She is very excited to share her passion for science-based conservation, public outreach, and community development with the DDCSP scholars. Melissa believes that spending time in nature inspires creativity and curiosity, and is looking forward to discovering new insights within the American Southwest.


Dr. Angie Moline, Program Consultant

Dr. Angie Moline is the founder of Educate Wild!, a consultancy dedicated to improving experiential education program design and implementation. She has served as the Assistant Director of Education for the Landscape Conservation Initiative and a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at Northern Arizona University. Angie has taught field-based courses across the western USA and Mexico for Northern Arizona University, the Wild Rockies Field InstitutePrescott College, and Outward Bound. She is the former director of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program @ NAU, the Grand Canyon Semester @ NAU, and the Summer Conservation Experience.  She holds a doctorate in ecology from Colorado State University where she served as a National Science Foundation GK-12 fellow for several years. Angie also specializes in using visual techniques to understand and explain the world around her.  She has energetically mapped, graphed, sketched, doodled, and drawn her way through studies in ecology, engineering, and art. 


Dr. Tom Sisk, Principal Investigator

Tom, director of the Landscape Conservation Initiative at Northern Arizona University and the Charles Olajos and Ted Goslow Endowed Chair of Environmental Science and Policy for the Southwest, is an ecologist whose work focuses on three interrelated goals: improving our understanding of ongoing environmental change; engaging others in the challenges, societal relevance, and rewards of conservation; and helping to provide solutions to emerging problems facing policy makers and land managers. His experiences provide insight into the relationship between science and management, as well as the challenges associated with translating sound science and progressive policy into on-the-ground action. Sisk’s laboratory group researches a broad range of topics related to the restoration and conservation of biodiversity and sensitive habitats, combining field study, geographic analysis, and spatial modeling. Tom’s courses in conservation biology, landscape ecology, and environmental policy and leadership emphasize theory in the natural and social sciences, and grounds student experience in field study and real-world applications. Tom serves on numerous advisory and editorial boards and is a certified Senior Ecologist of the Ecological Society of America and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow.