The International Association of Wildland Fire Scholarship Program and Recipients
The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) awards two graduate-level scholarships typically valued at $2,500USD to Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Ph.D. students studying wildland fire or wildland fire-related topics. Student submitted essays are evaluated by an international panel of fire science experts and one award recipient is chosen for the Masters level and one for the Doctoral level. The IAWF has been presenting this award annually to members of the fire science community since 2007.
Scholarship receipients in 2013
Héctor Leonardo Martínez Torres (PhD Candidate)
National Autonomous University of Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico
Hector studied Agricultural Engineering and then got a Master’s Degree in Botany, where he started his work in Ethnobotany. Later he worked as Technician in several research projects in the Ecosystems Research Center (CIEco) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The last two projects in which he got involved in this capacity were related to fire, and he had the opportunity to interact with collaborators from the Mexican Government and Mexican and US Universities. This experience sparked his curiosity to investigate how people in rural areas of Mexico manage fire as part of their subsistence activities, which clearly could be considered as Ethnoecology.
At present he is in the second year of his PhD studies in the Laboratory of Ecology of Forest Managment at CIEco - UNAM. His research focuses on the traditional use and management of fire by indigenous and non-indigenous rural inhabitants in forestry, agriculture and livestock management at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, one of the most emblematic Natural Protected Areas in Mexico.
Elizabeth Schneider (MA Student)
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN, USA
Elizabeth Schneider is a Masters student in the Department of Geography at the University of Tennessee. Her concentrations are in biogeography, paleoclimatology, and dendrochronology. Elizabeth’s research focuses on low-frequency climate oscillations and their influence on the occurrence of wildfires in the Southwest. Her goal is to increase the knowledge of fire-climate interactions and provide fire managers with in depth information on the changing patterns of wildfire. Elizabeth’s interest in fire and dendrochronology began as a lab assistant at the University of Oregon. She is now a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Tennessee and is working in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science.
Scholarship receipients in 2012
Rachel Anne Carter
LaTrobe Unversity (PhD Candidate)
Rachel Anne Carter is a PhD Candidate and Legal Scholar with La Trobe University located in Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. As part of her PhD, Rachel holds an industry scholarship with the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Rachel's work is primarily centred on insurance and fire related events. Her research involves an international comparative approach whereby she is currently undertaking an analysis of different systems in Europe, America, Asia and the Australia pacific region. In order to undertake this aspect of her research Rachel spent time as a visiting scholar at the International Institute of Sociology and the Law in Onati, Spain and also in the research offices at the OECD, Paris. At the OECD, Rachel liaised with policy makers, economists and senior officials discussing the different insurance models.
Rachel has co-authored a book, published in academic journals and presented at conferences both in Australia and internationally. In 2011 Rachel presented evidence to the Senate in relation to insurance in Australia in the aftermath of the Queensland flooding. Rachel was also involved in the insurance media work in the aftermath of the flooding which resulted in political attention being drawn to the issue and subsequently the issue was cited by various senators. She has also worked with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in reviewing disaster policy. Rachel hopes that her overall findings will better assist in improved individual economic planning for disaster events particularly through the means of insurance.
San Jose State University (MSc)
Los Gatos, California, USA
Dianne is a Masters student in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University. Her current area of research is to measure and document the interaction between fire and the atmosphere in complex terrain through a series of head fire experiments on slopes. The data set created from the fires will be used by scientists to help understand fire behavior at a micrometeorological scale and thus lead to improvement of fire behavior models. Dianne has worked multiple seasons as a firefighter in California and has been a volunteer fire fighter in her community for more than 12 years. She was drawn into this research by her fascination with fire behavior while studying to be a FBAN.
Scholarship receipients in 2011
Alexis Lewis (Ph. D. student)
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR, USA
Alexis Lewis is a PhD candidate in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science with an emphasis in Sports Psychology at Oregon State University. Alexis’ research revolves around ways to improve human performance through leadership and decision-making in wildland fire through mindfulness and self-compassion interventions. Alexis’ goal is to make her research as practical as possible for fire personnel, while upholding scientific rigor. As such, she has been working closely with fire managers and personnel in developing appropriate and effective strategies for implementation. Alexis has also been a seasonal wildland firefighter for eight seasons throughout different parts of the Western U.S., and will begin her ninth season in June of 2011.
Victoria Pantoja Campa (MA student)
Universidad Autónoma Chapingo
Chapingo, Estado de M éxico,
Victoria Pantoja Campa is a first year masters student in the Division de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad Autonoma Chapingo. She has concentrated on planning and implementation of the Integrated Fire Management in Mexico, Central and South America. She has been trained in prescribed burning based on community fire management and fire ecology. In 2006 she was awarded a scholarship by the Fundación Carolina and studied at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain, Master in Management of Protected Areas.
At her professional career has served as Regional Coordinator Fire Management in Southeast Mexico with the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C., and The Nature Conservancy. She has applied Fire Ecologist for Latin America with The Global Fire Team of Nature Conservancy; conducted research for Pronaturaleza, Peru; and as a consultant conducted an Analytical Mapping Wildfires in Maya Forest region with the CATIE (Research & Higher Education Center) – BID (Inter-American Development Bank).
Scholarship recipients in 2010
| Carissa Brown
(Ph. D. student)
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Carissa Brown is a Ph.D. candidate in the Northern Plant Ecology Lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. Carissa investigates how the successional trajectory of black spruce stands may change if they are burned too frequently to produce seed and self-replace, as well as how changes to the fire regime affect carbon dynamics. She conducts her research at the northern range of the boreal forest in the Yukon, a region where summer temperatures have increased over the past several decades, and where fires are predicted to occur more frequently with warming.
Update as of June 2012: Carissa is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Mark Vellend at l'Université de Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke, Québec. She is continuing her research on the dynamics of tree species at the limits of their distributions, now on elevational gradients in mountain ecosystems of southern Québec. She is also continuing her Yukon/latitudinal treeline research through collaborations and data syntheses with other arctic researchers.
University of Washington
Brooke Cassell is a second year masters student in the School of Forest Resources, University of Washington. Her research focuses on using dendrochronology to understand the historical range of variability of fire in high elevation pine-oak forests in Mexico. She aims to increase knowledge about fire management in patchy landscapes consisting of fire adapted and fire sensitive ecosystem types. Brooke is also a Teaching Assistant at the University of Washington and is active in the Student Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, National Forestry Honor's Society, and is an avid bicyclist.
Update as of June 2012: Brooke recently defended her masters thesis on the Fire History of the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve in Western México and will be working with the USDA Forest Service as a student tech this summer before starting a PhD program in the fall. She'll be continuing her studies with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington.
Scholarship recipients in 2009
The International Association of Wildland Fire is pleased to announce that it has awarded two scholarships to students in the United States and Canada. These scholarships, each worth $2,500 USD, are designated to one Ph.D. student and one Masters of Science student studying wildland fire or wildland fire-related topics.
| Victoria Balfour
University of Montana
The Doctorial Scholarship recipient for 2009 is Victoria Balfour of the University of Montana. Victoria's research concentrates on the role of wildfire ash in understanding the varied hydrologic response following wildfires. Through unique and innovative methodologies she has aided in defining the term wildfire ash, more specifically with respects to hydrologic characteristics. Victoria has been invited to continue her research internationally by collaborating with leading scientists in Europe (Wales and Spain). During her planned stay in Europe she will be comparing the results from her North America samples with data from Wildfires in Australia and Spain to assess ecosystem differences.
Update as of June 2012: Vicki is in the process of completing her degree, she plans to finish in December, after which she will be doing a post-doc at the University of Montana for a year. She is still studying the effect of ash on post-fire infiltration. Following that she hopes to pursue teaching, mainly geared toward youth.
| Kelsey Gibos
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Masters Scholarship recipient for 2009 is Kelsy Gibos of the University of Toronto. Working with an industrial partner, Kelsey is investigating the influence of solar radiation on the moisture content and ignitability of fine forest fuels. Because her previous experience involves work with fire agencies across Canada and overseas in Australia and New Zealand, her study provides an important link between academic endeavors and their applications at the fire-ground level.
Update as of June 2012: After finishing her MSc. in Forestry at the University of Toronto, Kelsey obtained a term position assisting with reconstruction of the fire behaviour events of Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, in the state of Victoria, Australia. Following that, she has been assigned the role of 'bushfire risk analyst' where she is using fire behaviour science to inform new building and community planning guidelines for this fire prone state. Her time there in Australia has been extremely rewarding; she has learned so much about mass fire behaviour and convective driven fire spread, as well as about hazard and risk at the wildland-urban interface. Her near future leads to assisting with the establishment of a predictive services unit for another state fire authority here in Australia and an eventual triumphant return to Canada to consider furthering her academic career.
Scholarship recipients in 2008
The International Association of Wildland Fire is pleased to announce that it has awarded two scholarships to students in the United States and The Netherlands. These scholarships, each worth $2,500 USD, are designated to one Ph.D. student and one Master of Science student studying wildland fire or wildland fire-related topics.
| Kara Marie Yedinak (Ph.D. student)
Laboratory of Atmospheric Science
Washington State University
Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Brian Lamb, Regents Professor and Boeing Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-2910
The IAWF Scholarship recipient for 2008 is Kara Yedinak of Washington State University in Pullman. Kara Marie is working toward a Ph.D. in engineering science with the Laboratory of Atmospheric Research (LAR) at Washington State University. LAR is an interdisciplinary graduate program focusing on air quality with an emphasis on interactions between the biosphere and atmosphere. At LAR, Kara is pursuing her interests in understanding the links between fire behavior and the atmosphere to better understand the role and scale of wildland fire in air quality.
Update as of June 2012: Kara is working towards finishing her PhD in Engineering Science at Washington State University. Her work continues on the sensitivity analysis and evaluation of WRF-Fire, a coupled fire-atmosphere model.
| Cathelijne Stoof (Ph.D. student)
Principal Academic Advisor: Dr. Coen J. Ritsema, Professor in Physical Soil Quality
The IAWF Scholarship recipient for 2008 is Cathelijne Stoof of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Cathelijne has been working on soils and hydrology combining field, lab and modeling approaches in the Netherlands and abroad. In her Ph.D. research she uses a multiscale approach to explain post-fire erosion and flooding events by studying the effects of fire on soil water movement.
View PDF article from Quest Magazine (published 05/2009), Deliberately on fire, Ten hectares in Portugal on fire for science
Update as of June 2012: After receiving the IAWF scholarship in 2008 Cathelijne continued her fieldwork in Portugal where she had her 10-ha research catchment burned by experimental fire in 2009 to study fire impact on soil and hydrology. In 2010, she used the IAWF funds to develop a method for evaluating the effects of ash on water movement in soil at the Steenhuis lab at Cornell University (USA) where she works as a post-doc after graduating in 2011. In her current job she studies sustainable management of soil, water and landscapes, from bioenergy and hydrofracking impacts to fire risks and effects.
Scholarship recipients in 2007
The International Association of Wildland Fire is pleased to announce that it has awarded two scholarships to students in Canada and Australia. These scholarships, each worth $2,500 USD, are designated to one Ph.D. student and one Master of Science student studying wildland fire or wildland fire-related topics.
|Sean T. Michaletz (Ph.D.
University of Calgary
The IAWF Scholarship recipient for 2007 is Sean T. Michaletz, a Ph.D. student at the University of Calgary in Canada. Sean has developed models for deciduous and coniferous mortality following low intensity fires, and has also worked with crown scorch models. His PhD. research will concentrate on combining some of his individual tree models into stand and landscape level models.
Update as of June 2012: Sean is currently finishing his PhD thesis "Tree mortality and seed survival in forest fires," which he will defend in July. He then begin a postdoctoral research position at the University of Arizona, where he will be developing metabolic scaling theory to better predict variation in plant growth, performance, and hydraulics.
|Andrew Sullivan (Ph.D.
Australian National University
The IAWF Scholarship recipient for 2007 is Andrew Sullivan, a Ph.D. student at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. Andrew has been working on the development of fire spread simulation software, was co-author of a book on grass fire behavior and management, and conducted field experiments in Australian forests. His PhD. research focuses on the role of the competitive thermokinetics of cellulose thermal decomposition and combustion in patterns of bushfire spread.
We received many excellent applications from students that are engaged in first class research. The selection panel had a difficult task selecting only two scholarship recipients.