Three faculty members join the College of Natural Resources and Environment
January 11, 2021
The College of Natural Resources and Environment welcomed three new faculty members in the 2020-21 academic year.
“It is an exciting time for the college as we aspire to make an impact in the world and mentor our students as they begin their careers,” said Paul Winistorfer, dean of the college. “We welcome our new faculty colleagues to our college community.”
Willandia Chaves brings a background in conservation science to the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, where she is an assistant professor in urban fish and wildlife conservation. Chaves, who grew up in a small town in the Brazilian Amazon, works to understand the human dimensions that impact conservation efforts.
“My research aims to understand how people make decisions regarding their use of natural resources, and, in turn, use this understanding to foster more sustainable behaviors,” explained Chaves, who received a doctorate in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida. “Over the next few years, my research will focus on how urbanization affects people and biodiversity in both the tropics and Virginia.”
Chaves came to Virginia Tech in fall 2020 from Princeton University, where she completed a postdoctoral position researching the wildlife trade in urban Brazil.
Brett Jesmer joined the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation as an assistant professor of mammal ecology in the spring semester. Jesmer’s research uses animal behavior and demographics to provide natural resource managers with critical information to aid in conservation efforts.
“I’m particularly interested in combining GPS technologies, satellite remote sensing, and nutritional assays to quantify how individuals and populations respond to environmental changes,” said Jesmer, who has recently been researching migration patterns and demographic data for bighorn sheep and moose in the American west.
Jesmer, who holds a doctorate in ecology from the University of Wyoming and recently served as a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, is excited to join the community of students and faculty at Virginia Tech.
“The diversity of faculty and students in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, along with the range of wildlife habitats and land management practices, will provide me with ample collaborative opportunities and an ideal laboratory for carrying out my ecological research,” he said.
Patrick Corey Green, previously a research associate in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, stepped into the position of assistant professor in forest biometrics in January. Green, who completed his doctorate in forestry at Virginia Tech in 2019, specializes in forest growth and yield, forest sampling, and applications of remote sensing in forestry.
As an educator, Green believes that it is crucial to foster diversity and increase access for all students interested in studying forestry. “I have been very fortunate to teach forestry to many students and collaborate with peers on a variety of projects,” he said. “My personal experiences have shown me that ensuring and promoting equal opportunities for diverse students, peers, and stakeholders enhances the educational mission of a natural resources program.
“I look forward to working with colleagues to provide an excellent educational experience for students while conducting my research in forest management, and I’m very excited to join the diverse, world-class faculty at Virginia Tech,” added Green, who has also served as an analyst for a forestry consulting firm providing services to landowners and managers.
Winistorfer concluded: “With these new faculty additions, we are beginning to see the evolution of the future of the college. We have enjoyed tremendous stability in our faculty over many years, building our curricula, research, and graduate studies programs to a position of national leadership across our disciplines. We are excited to welcome these new faculty and, with a cohort of eight new faculty in fall 2019, we are seeing the change among us that we knew was coming.”
—Written by David Fleming