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Kirsten Schwarz
Kirsten Schwarz is an urban ecologist that uses a transdisciplinary systems approach to understand how landscape patterns affect ecosystem services in cities. Community engagement, social justice, and equity are central themes of her research. She has addressed community-level food insecurity and soil contamination in underserved neighborhoods of Sacramento, CA and the ecological drivers of soil lead patterns in Baltimore, MD.
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Michele Day
Michele Day is a journalist with almost 20 years of experience as a newspaper editor and reporter, Day has worked with media outlets to organize forums and workshops, bringing more than 100 media professionals to campus to engage with more than 1,200 students and faculty. She’s also a national board member of the Society of Professional Journalists. As media adviser for NKU’s student-run media organizations, she counsels students from diverse disciplines in best practices of multimedia journalism and has advised more than 40 students on research and creative projects. Her students have won more than 25 state, regional and national awards in the last three years. She also has collaborated with ENV faculty on science media literacy and soil lead contamination projects and teamed with EMB faculty to develop a course on video news. She helped write a proposal for a BA in health communication that includes a new JOU course on science news literacy.
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Dr. Richard Durtsche is a physiological ecologist and herpetologist with research interests in the nutritional ecology and digestive physiology of amphibians and reptiles; impacts of invasive species on amphibian larvae and niche occupancy of introduced reptiles; and the development of mobile technologies for bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems. He taught biostatistics and vertebrate, ecology and physiology-based courses, many of which have field components that give students experience with wildlife and ecosystems in-state (Kentucky), out of the state (Minnesota), and internationally (Mexico and Costa Rica).  He is an active member of the NKU Research Foundation, the Education Abroad Committee, and helped to establish the Ecological Stewardship Institute (ESI) for developing community relations for improving ecological health and environmental awareness in the region.  

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Scott Fennell, Director of the Center for Environmental Restoration, has been with NKU since 1999. In addition to directing the CER, Scott’s primary responsibilities are managing the Northern Kentucky Stream and Wetland Restoration Program, an in-lieu fee compensatory mitigation program, and serving as its principal restoration engineer. Prior to coming to NKU, Scott was an environmental engineer and scientist working primarily in brownfields assessment and remediation. Scott has a BS in chemical engineering and a masters degree in environmental science, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Kentucky.
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Dr. Brian Hackett
Dr. Brian Hackett came to NKU after over 20 years in the museum field as a curator and a museum director. He received his Ph.D. in 2009 in the field of Public History from Middle Tennessee State University. He now manages the Public History program at NKU. His areas of specialization include, exhibits, education, material culture, and collections management.
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Dr. Kristy Hopfensperger is an ecosystem ecologist with a focus on aquatic systems. Current research focuses are in water quality, greenhouse gas fluxes, and invasive species in urban areas. Her work inherently crosses many disciplines. Through ESI she has worked with colleagues in media arts, history, sociology, and geology. Kristy teaches in the Environmental Science Program at NKU, where she loves to involve students in her work. 

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Dr. Kulkarni is the Assistant Director of the Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics (CINSAM) at NKU. At CINSAM she leads and supports many P-12 and undergraduate initiatives to improve STEM scholarship, education, and equity. But her core thematic interest is the environment. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in environmental science and hopes that participating in ESI will help CINSAM and NKU better support our students and community in their stewardship of the world around us.

 

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Brad McCombs is the coordinator for New Media Art (Visual Arts) with a dual role in Media Informatics (Communication). His role as an artist and teacher is comprehensive and embraces activism, anthropology, ecology, sociology and technology. His professional experience includes helping design and build an eco-tourist resort in the Fiji Islands, Exhibition Coordinator of the Louisville Science Center, web design work for 3RiversConnect and creator of the Driftwood Institute.  
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Dr. Carrie McCoy
Dr. Carrie McCoy has collaborated with colleagues in psychiatry and social work to ensure cost effective, efficient, quality health care. Past collaborations include work with the Kentucky Injury Prevention Center and NIOSH, the Kentucky Graduated Licensing Program, and a Health Scan Screening Community Area Network, delivering health screening to underserved rural and urban communities. McCoy served on the Community Advisory Committee of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky for six years, including as Chair. This group consisted of multiple stakeholders and identified policy needed to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians. McCoy has taught a research course in which students from different disciplines collaborate on evidence-based projects to determine sound recommendations.
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Mark Neikirk is the executive director of NKU’s Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement. The center works to connect the campus and community through an array of citizenship and stewardship initiatives. On campus, the center coordinates NKU’s Newspaper readership program to foster a climate of inquiry around public affairs, including Democracy Square Live dialogues with students to discuss issues and public policy. The center also supports service learning classes that take students into the community for real world learning. Our Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project combines service learning with investment of funds in nonprofits. Off campus, the center presents the Six@Six Lectures each year, which feature NKU students and faculty discussing their research at community venues. The center also is a partner in the Northern Kentucky Forum, which hosts community town hall discussions in the region. Mr. Neikirk has directed the center since 2007. Previously, he was a reporter, columnist and editor at The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post. He also has been an adjunct lecturer in journalism and is active in a number of community nonprofits as a board member and volunteer.

Advisory Board

Anthony Chavez, NKU Chase College of Law

Michele Day, NKU Department of Communication

Janet Harrah, NKU Center for Economic Analysis and Development

Kristy Hopfensperger, NKU Department of Biological Sciences

Madhura Kulkarni, NKU CINSAM

Brad McCombs, NKU Visual Arts

Tess Phinney, NKU Sustainability

Gang Sun, NKU Department of Physics, Geology, and Engineering Technology

David Tataw, NKU College of Health Professions

Jessica Tegge, NKU Environmental Science Student

Kim Yates, NKU Department of Teacher Education