Research advising


I advise student research on a range of topics, but I’m most qualified to advise projects on climate change, restoration, and invasive species biology and management. Most of my work is done at Spicewood Ranch in the Hill Country, Commons Ford Ranch Metropark, Wild Basin, Vireo Preserve, or Blunn Creek. In 2022, I worked with our campus arborist, Roy Johnson, and several SEU students to set up a Food Forest on campus, and began advising research projects with students in 2023 to measure the impacts of food forests on soil chemical and physical properties. I encourage my research students to work at one of these sites and to add to an existing project rather than starting from scratch as it is much easier to gather meaningful results in the short time period required for most undergraduate projects. I mainly advise ENSP majors, but would also be happy to work with students from other majors whose interests overlap with mine.

If you are interested in working with me, please see my Research Page to find out about my on-going projects and Opportunities for Students page to read more about the past research projects that I’ve advised. Then, contact me with some ideas about what you might want to study.  I love working with students on research, so please don’t hesitate to contact me! This is my favorite part of my job.

Below is a list of student research projects that I have advised at St. Edward’s University. Some are ongoing.

  • Victoria Avila – Effects of ecological restoration of formerly mowed parklands on soil function in Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park, Austin, TX. Research Internship
  • Cameron Crowder. Effectiveness of biochar and compost product amendments on switchgrass survival and growth. McNair Scholar Research
  • Katie Gay, Grace Hosek, Hailey Olivia Prior, and Ryan Riojas – Impacts of native trees in an urban food forest on soil fertility and hydrologic function. ENSP Senior Capstone Research
  • Janiece Jefferson – Impacts of invasive Bothriochloa ischaemum on soil moisture, compaction, and plant productivity. McNair Scholar Research
  • Elizabeth Payne and Savannah ZambranoImpacts of invasive species, ecological restoration, and drought on plant community composition in Central Texas grasslands. i4 summer research
  • Victoria Avila and Jessica Richards – Soil physical and chemical properties in mowed, unmowed, and restored sites at Roy G Guerrero Park in Austin, Texas. ENSP Senior Research
  • Cameron Crowder – Impacts of biochar and compost products on growth and productivity of switchgrass in restoration plantings. McNair Scholar
  • Ava Enriquez, John Scott & Maya Soojhai. Impacts of ecological restoration on soil physical and chemical properties in grasslands of the Texas Hill Country. ENSP Senior Capstone Research
  • Janiece Jefferson. Biomass responses to ecological restoration in grasses of the Texas Hill Country. McNair Scholar Research
  • Maya Soojhai. Impacts of King Ranch bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) on soil physical and chemical properties in grasslands of the Texas Hill Country Honors Thesis Research
  • Margaux Ordoveza – Floral resources in native grasslands yield better tolerance responses to drought conditions compared to Bothriochloa ischaemum-dominated grasslands in the Texas Hill Country. ENSP Senior Research, i4 summer research
  • Rae Bennet and Janiece Jefferson – Impacts of invasive Bothriochloa ischaemum on soil moisture, compaction, and plant productivity. IUSE 8-week Summer Research
  • Camille Dedeaux and Meriam Elawad –The effects of invasive Bothriochloa ischaemum on native grassland systems and their ability to sequester carbon in the Texas Hill Country. Hook Scholar Research, ENSP Senior Research
  • Flor Flores Jaimes -Perspectives on water quality, contamination, and trust in government in rural versus urban communities along the US-Mexico border. McNair Scholar Research
  • Ederé Ohwobete – Analysis of contaminant levels in centralized water systems v. domestic wells in rural and urban communities along the US-Mexico border. McNair Scholar, Honors Thesis
  • Laurel Tashjian – Floral resources in invaded and restored grasslands of Central Texas. Mount Holyoke College, Senior Thesis
  • Natalie Cuellar – Edge effects on invasive species spread at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. Senior ENSP Research
  • Abril Gurrola, Yolanda Guzman, and Natalia Zaragoza –Public transportation 3 city comparison and recommendations to improve ridership. Senior ENSP Research
  • Colton Mitchel -Bird diversity in native and invasive forests around Austin, TX. Hook Fellow & Senior ENSP Research
  • Paloma Ridge-Rojas and Jose G. Zuniga –The relationship of drought tolerance and insect damage on trees. Senior ENSP Research
  • Logan Sigel and Natalie Turner – Carbon storage in invaded and native forests of Central Texas. Senior ENSP Research, and Honors Thesis Research (Sigel)
  • Andres Targa and Anna Qualls. Changes in plant diversity and abundance in response to shaded fuel break treatments at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, Austin, TX. Senior ENSP Research
  • Vinh Tran– An assessment of Austin’s urban forest ozone mitigation potential. IUSE 8-week Summer Research Experience
  • Hailey Reier – Costs and benefits of campus trees at St. Edward’s University. Senior ENSP Research
  • Yeji Kang and Olivia Rome – Seedbank dynamics before and after a prescribed fire in the Texas Hill Country. Senior ENSP Research
  • Jack Ripple – Use of turkey tail fungus (Trametes versicolor) to restore soil fertility and improve ecosystem function in degraded Texas Hill Country forests. Senior ENSP Research Project, Hook Fellow
  • Vinh Tran– Biodiversity and productivity response to restoration in the Texas Hill Country. IUSE Research Experience
  • Jonathon Brooks, Michael Gembarowski, Conlon McOsker, and Madison Tumicki – Changes in plant and animal diversity and movement in response to shaded fuel break fire mitigation. Senior ENSP Research
  • Aileen Brom, Shirley Ochoa, and Bowen Wilder – Response of insect diversity to prairie restoration at Commons Ford Metropark in Austin, TX. Senior ENSP Research
  • April Carranza– Exploring effects of an urban prairie restoration project on public engagement. Senior ENSP Research
  • Stella Cunningham and Abigail Ramirez – Pollinator plant diversity response to urban prairie restoration in the Edward’s Plateau, TX. IUSE Research Experience
  • Clarissa Mae de Leon – Mycorestoration of a Ligustrum-invaded urban park in Austin, TX. McNair Scholar Research
  • Grace DeLucia – How do formative environmental influences impact career path? Honors Thesis Research
  • Karolyn Newton – How to Maximize Vitamin N(ature): Determining the indicators of green space use in Austin, Texas. Honors Thesis Research
  • Faith Chonko – Environmental and ownership factors contributing to produce availability in convenience stores. Master’s Research
  • Elayna Grove – Wildlife diversity and abundance in invaded and native urban forest stands of Austin, TX. Master’s Research, Hook Fellow
  • Adriana Lee – Ecosystem function response to remediation of an old dump site at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. Master’s Research, Hook Fellow
  • Becky Woodward – Fitness response of Asclepias asperula, antelope horns milkweed, with the inoculation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Master’s Research, Hook Fellow
  • Ashley Bussell, Nico Gonzalez, Leslie Roberts – Characterizing heavy metals in bridge deck runoff: A rainfall simulation study. Master’s Research, Hook Fellows
  • John Gonzalez, Nicole Moore – Sampling Travis County’s water for lead contamination. Master’s Research.
  • Savannah Bryson, Abigail Kropf, Eric Johnson – Effectiveness and feasibility of privet control techniques in riparian areas of Wild Basin. Master’s Research, Hook Fellows