S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
Graduate Student Teacher of the Year
Erika Blomdahl received a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. After her undergraduate studies she worked as a utility forester, arborist, and timber cruiser, before transitioning to the field of ecological research. Erika is currently a master’s student in the Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State, working with Dr. Jim Lutz on fire ecology research in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. She is studying the interaction between forests and fire: how topography and vegetation affect fire spatial pattern, and in turn how fire affects the distribution and spatial pattern of forest biota (trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, wildlife). Her work is part of the Western Forest Initiative, a collaborative research effort to advance scientific understanding of forest change in western North America. Erika has extensive field experience in the west and for the last four years has trained undergraduates in forest data collection, navigating in the backcountry, and identifying native plants. Her career goals are to be an environmental educator and mentor for young people who are seeking professional development in natural resources. In her off-time she enjoys trail running, bike and ski touring, hiking, and sending hand-written letters by post.