UIdaho CALS Rural Sociology Research Group UIdaho CALS Rural Sociology Research Group UIdaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Image Map


JD Wulfhorst

J.D. Wulfhorst

Associate Professor, Rural Sociology
Chair, Board of Advisers, Social Science Research Unit (SSRU)



J.D. joined the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences faculty in 2000 after earning his doctorate in community and rural sociology from Utah State University in 1997.

As a Rural Sociologist at the University of Idaho (UI), J.D.’s research focuses on natural resources uses, agricultural production and working landscapes.

As a professor, J.D. teaches in a variety of programs and colleges, including courses related to “Law, Ethics, & the Environment.” As a interdisciplinary scholar, he contributes to the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program, a multidisciplinary project in cooperation with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica, where he spent a year at the Turrialba campus as a visiting professor. He advises one major interdisciplinary team within IGERT, the sagebrush team.

In 2006, J.D. served as president of the Idaho Academy of Science, a state-based interdisciplinary chapter that pursues support and education for science-based activities as well as President of the Idaho Section of the Society for Range Management in 2010. Interests in local and regional agriculture have led to facilitation and study of networking for sustainable conservation practices.

Areas of interest include:

  • Community and Economic Development
  • Rangeland governance and policy
  • Natural Resources Policy
  • Resource/Government Dependency in Rural Communities

In his spare time, J.D. enjoys spending time with his family, boiling peanuts, roasting peppers, and playing the dobro for a local bluegrass band, Forgotten Freight (click here to “like” them on Facebook).

Leigh Bernacchi

leigh likes hiking

REACCH Post-Doctoral Researcher
REACCH Education and Communication Coordinator

Curriculum Vita

In March 2014, Leigh started working with the REACCH Education team to foster agriculture and climate science in the k-12 classroom and coordinate the undergraduate internship and REACCH graduate student experience. She also works with the Cyberinfrastructure and Extension teams to communicate about REACCH research and Extension products and climate and agriculture news and events. Since May 2012, Leigh has researched about climate perceptions, climate communication, and adaptability of agricultural producers, crop advisors and the general public.

Areas of interest include:

  • climate change communication
  • visual communication and visualization techniques for public participation
  • community decision-making
  • adaptive capacity

Leigh’s research blog is maintained on this site.

She completed her PhD in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University in August 2014. She holds degrees Environmental Humanities, MS from the University of Utah and Environmental Science, BA from Willamette University. Off-campus Leigh enjoys hiking, birding, gardening and knitting.

Amanda Bentley Brymer

Amanda Bentley

Amanda is an Environmental Science doctoral candidate and NSF-IGERT Fellow (Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship). As a rural sociologist, she joins three ecologists to form an interdisciplinary research “Sagebrush Team” investigating social-ecological dynamics of the sagebrush-steppe in southern Idaho. Her disciplinary work focuses on the role of lawsuits and litigation in public land management.

Amanda earned her B.A. in Communication and M.S. in Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University in 2007 and 2011, respectively. In her free time Amanda enjoys reading, hanging with her awesome pets Sakura, Puddy 1 and Puddy 2, visiting wildlands, and hiking.

Renée Hill

Renee Hill

Renée Hill completed her PhD student in Environmental Science in the Joint Doctoral Program between the University of Idaho and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica in August 2014.

As an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) fellow, Renée studies national government and local community perspectives on rural water (drinking water, wastewater and rivers) governance in Costa Rica with the Turrialba Team.

In the past, Renée studied national-level decision-making processes for the reduction of malnutrition in multiple countries. She holds the following degrees: MS in International Nutrition from Cornell University and a BS in Nutrition Science from the University of California, Davis.

Renee is actively involved in supporting local nonprofits, backpacking, running, biking, swimming, touring the breweries of the Pacific Northwest, and joining spontaneous adventures to enjoy life.

Liz Allen

Elizabeth Allen WSU Bioearth

Liz began PhD research in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Washington State University in Fall 2012. She is working with the BioEarth communication and extension team to design and evaluate stakeholder engagement strategies in an integrated Earth system modeling effort for the Columbia River Basin. The BioEarth model will link hydrological, atmospheric, vegetation, and social/economic models, with the aim of producing outputs that are relevant to the needs of regional decision makers, especially in the agriculture and forestry sectors. In a modeling effort such as BioEarth that has a high degree of technical complexity and seeks to be relevant to a diverse group of stakeholders, developing effective communication strategies across disciplines and levels of expertise is an essential goal.

Liz holds degrees in Environmental Science and Policy, MS from Clark University and Biology and Anthropology, BS from the University of Oregon. As of Fall 2013, Liz is working remotely from her home-office in Boston where she stays busy baking, designing concert posters and biking.

Allen CV  2013



Stephanie Kane

Stephanie Kane

Stephanie has moved to Washington State University to pursue statistical analyses for Institutional Research. She holds Master’s degrees in both zoology and statistics from Washington State University, and an undergraduate degree in biology from The College of William and Mary. She will continue to contribute to REACCH, STEEP and ongoing collaborations with J.D., Leigh and Monica.

Having switched gears from biostatistics to survey statistics, she concedes that it is harder to collect data from people than animals. When she is not analyzing data, Stephanie enjoys knitting, gardening, fly fishing, cycling, and yoga.

Download File kane_curriculum_vitae_9_12

Monica Reyna

Monica ReynaMonica is the research analyst at the University of Idaho’s Social Science Research Unit. She completed her degree in  in Sociology with a minor in Statistics in May 2014. Her areas of interest include survey methodology, gender, and community development.

Monica’s dedication to learning quantitative and qualitative data analysis and visualization have been invaluable to REACCH research and many other projects conducted through the SSRU.

Former Students

Joanna Parkman

Joanna graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, TN, where she studied ecology, anthropology, and watershed science. Her interests lie in sustainable food systems, global health, and environmental justice. Joanna recently spent a semester in Costa Rica conducting field research in tropical biology. She enjoys birdwatching, sea kayaking, hiking, and gardening. She led programming for the Women’s Center at Sewanee, and after studying with REACCH, Joanna balanced her scientific perspectives with some biological field work.

Joanna conducted a summer internship with REACCH focusing on spatial data visualization and distribution of weeds, pests and pathogens among wheat producers’ fields. She blogs about her experiences here. She continues to contribute to weed management and climate change adaptation and decision-making as a member of our  research and writing team. She represented REACCH (one of six members and the only undergraduate) at the Pacific Northwest Climate Conference in Portland, OR in September 2013.

Augie Gabrielli

Augie Gabrielli

Augie is a senior at the University of Idaho who is majoring in Environmental Science –Social Science Option. He completed his senior thesis through REACCH. His primary interest include studying the future of climate change, especially the politics and law surrounding it. In his free time he is an avid skier and hiker. He will complete his degree in December 2013.

Mo EssenMo Essen

Mo Essen is currently taking a break from her PhD work in the Conservation Social Sciences program at the University of Idaho and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrated Graduate Education Research Trainee (IGERT) focusing on geography in an interdisciplinary team of PhD students including, an economist, entomologist, ecohydrologist and a forest ecologist in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Her research focuses on ecosystem services, including Costa Rica’s Payments for Environmental Services policy, and participatory GIS.

Her work as an MS student at the University of Montana, Missoula focused on endangered species management and natural resource management conflict in rural Wyoming. She holds a BS in wildlife biology from the State College of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

When not work working, Mo lives for the outdoors of the Northern Rockies and Latin America–hiking, trail running, climbing, rafting, gardening, skiing, and (attempting to) surf.