Sunset over a wheat field.

Read the biographies of ADBCAP collaborators/researchers from universities across the United States.

Collaborating Institutions

  • University of Vermont
  • University of Central Florida
  • Morehead State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Kansas State University
  • Iowa State University
  • University of Arizona
  • Montana State University
  • University of Montana
  • Washington State University


Collaborator Biographies

Julie Smith – ADBCAP Director, University of Vermont

Julie Smith DVMJulie Smith is a research associate professor in animal and veterinary sciences at the University of Vermont. Julie received a B.S. in biological sciences, a D.V.M. and a Ph.D. in animal nutrition at Cornell University. She has applied her veterinary background to programs in the areas of herd health, dairy calf and heifer management, and agricultural emergency management. She also teaches the undergraduate animal welfare class required of majors in her department. Julie has conducted trainings for extension educators, livestock producers, and community members on the risks posed by a range of animal diseases, whether they already exist in the United States, exist outside of the United States, or pose a risk to both animal and human health. In all cases, she emphasizes the importance of awareness and prevention.

Scott Merrill – University of Vermont

Scott Merrill PhDScott C. Merrill, a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont, examines dynamics of change within pest-crop agroecosystems including aspects of climate change. Additionally, Dr. Merrill uses experimental gaming as a novel technique for collecting data to examine human dimensions of social ecological systems. As a quantitative ecologist he uses a variety of techniques in population modeling, spatiotemporal simulation modeling and landscape ecology. An important goal of his work is the creation of applicable and predictive models to inform suggested best management practices.

Timothy L. Sellnow – University of Central Florida

Timothy Sellnow PhDTimothy L. Sellnow is a professor of strategic communication in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Sellnow’s research focuses on bioterrorism, pre-crisis planning, and strategic communication for risk management and mitigation in organizational and health settings. He has conducted funded research for the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Geological Survey, and the World Health Organization. He has also served in an advisory role for the National Academy of Sciences and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Sellnow’s most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Matthew Seeger, is entitled, Narratives of Crisis: Stories of Ruin and Renewal. Dr. Sellnow is a recipient of the National Communication Association’s Gerald M. Phillips award for Distinguished Applied Communication Research.

Deanna Sellnow – University of Central Florida

Deanna Sellnow PhDDeanna Sellnow, PhD, is professor of strategic communication and assistant director/chair of the Communication Department in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media at the University of Central Florida. She has also taught as a tenured professor and assistant provost for transformative learning at the University of Kentucky and a tenured professor and director of the public speaking fundamentals program at North Dakota State University, as well as a visiting professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She conducts research in two major areas: the first focuses on strategic instructional risk and crisis communication in a variety of contexts, and the second focuses on rhetoric and persuasion in mediated popular culture texts. She has conducted funded research for the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS-National Center for Food Protection and Defense), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her work is published in several books, as well as in national and international journals.

Gabriela Bucini – University of Vermont

Gabriela BuciniDr. Gabriela Bucini is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Plant and Soil Science Department at the University of Vermont (UVM). Her research is focused on developing agent-based models depicting the hog industries including the integration of experimental gaming data into these agent-based models. She is involved in a broader project that seeks to reduce the impact of potential emergent diseases on herd health (PI Dr. Julie Smith, Department of Animal Sciences, UVM). Gabriela’s Ph.D. is in ecosystem ecology and she has worked on projects including tree cover mapping and modeling in African savannas, temporal and spatial dynamics of pine savannas in the Everglades National Park, Florida and local downscaling of General Circulation Models (GCMs) to project climate across the Northeast.

Glynn Tonsor – Kansas State University

Glynn Tonsor PhDGlynn Tonsor is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University (KSU). Glynn grew up on a farrow-to-finish swine farm in Monroe City, Missouri. Tonsor obtained a B.S. from Missouri State University and Ph.D. from KSU. He was a faculty member at Michigan State University from May 2006 to March 2010 when he joined the KSU faculty. Tonsor has broad interests and experiences which span many issues throughout the meat supply chain. Through active research, engaged outreach with industry, and first-hand knowledge with livestock production, Glynn has economic expertise in an array of topics of economic importance to Kansas, U.S. and global stakeholders. These meat-livestock industry topics include animal health, identification, traceability, and welfare; commodity market analysis and risk management; consumer meat demand; and producer perceptions and preferences.

Jeannette McDonald – Technology for Learning Center

Jeannette McDonald DVMJeannette McDonald is a veterinarian with a PhD in education, specifically distance education, and is thus uniquely qualified to lead projects for biosecurity education of all types and for all audiences. Dr. McDonald was the lead for a national online Johne’s Disease Veterinary Certificate Program which has been adopted by almost every state in the Union, as well as virtual farm visits and veterinary Johne’s simulation (JD Consult), and producer modules and simulations. Her team developed a large diversity and breadth of education for food safety, one health/one medicine, nursing, medical, veterinary, and public health fields, maintaining flexibility and accessibility. She was also the principal investigator (PI) on a FIPSE grant to create VetICE, a cooperative of veterinary schools to create and share courses across institutions. Since taking an early retirement from UW-Madison she’s had a Fulbright award working with the Italian national animal health service creating an iPad version of a risk assessment for Johne’s Disease in dairy cattle as well as an interactive simulation for producers. A sample of products from previous projects can be seen at

Lee Schulz – Iowa State University

Lee Schulz PhDLee Schulz is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University and serves as the statewide specialist on livestock economics and markets. His integrated extension, research, and teaching program provides leadership in the study of, and educational programming for, critical problems facing the livestock and meat industry, including marketing and risk management, agricultural and trade policies, animal health and biosecurity, and production, management, and regulatory issues. He has published in professional journals, extension publications, and the popular press and has spoken at numerous professional and agricultural conferences. Lee grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in central Wisconsin. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University.

Nick Cheney – University of Vermont

Nich Cheney PhDNick Cheney is a research assistant professor of Computer Science and the University of Vermont, and the director of the UVM Neurobotics Lab and a co-director of the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation Lab (SEGS). His research focuses on designing and applying machine learning algorithms (spanning deep learning, reinforcement learning, evolutionary computation, and meta-learning) for artificial neural networks, and applying these algorithms to help provide insights into complex systems in our society – including social, ecological, and biomedical domains. Nick studied applied mathematics at the University of Vermont and received his PhD from Cornell, studying computational biology under Hod Lipson and Steve Strogatz, while also serving as a research fellow at NASA.

Tommy Bass – Montana State University

Tommy Bass PhDBased in Bozeman, with Montana State University Extension, Tommy has a variety of Extension and research interests around managing for sustainability in animal agriculture. Examples include: environmental management and conservation, organic residuals processing and agronomic use, ag emergency management and biosecurity, and local food systems supply-chain performance.

Christopher Koliba – University of Vermont

Christopher Koliba PhDChristopher Koliba is a professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics Department at the University of Vermont (UVM), the director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program, the co-director of the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) Lab ( and a fellow at the Gund Institute on Ecological Economics. He possesses a Ph.D. and an MPA from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Koliba is the science leader for the social systems team of Basin Resilience to Extreme Events (BREE) project of Vermont EPSCoR. He is the lead author of Governance Network in Public Administration and Public Policy (second edition) published by Routledge Press and has published articles in many of the leading public administration and public policy journals. Koliba’s research interests include environmental governance, governance networks, community resilience, network performance and accountability, with applications to water quality, food systems, energy systems, emergency and disaster response, and sustainable transportation systems. He teaches courses pertaining to public policy and public affairs, public administration, organizational theory and behavior, systems analysis and strategic management, and the intersection of science and society.

Asim Zia – University of Vermont

Asim Zia PhDAsim Zia is serving as a professor of public policy and computer science in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer Science, at the University of Vermont. He is director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security (IEDS) and co-director of the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) lab at the UVM. His scholarship, research and public service activities have focused on advancing the interdisciplinary fields of complex systems modeling, computational policy analysis, governance network analysis, coupled natural and human systems and social ecological systems. He has served on scientific review committee of national socio-environmental synthesis center (SESYNC) (2014-17), acts as an academic editor for PLOS One (since 2013), and associate editor of Complexity, Governance and Networks. He has a Ph.D. in public policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology; recipient of 2004-2005 best dissertation award from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (2004-2006), a fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment (since 2011), a senior research fellow for the Earth System Governance project (since 2012) and a senior fellow for Global Change Impact Studies Center (2018-19).

Betsy Greene – University of Arizona

Betsy Green PhDDr. Greene is a professor and Extension horse specialist at the University of Arizona. Her previous statewide Extension programs at the University of Vermont have focused on preventative care and maintenance for horse health, safety, equine business, and pasture management. She has been active in the leadership of the eXtension “HorseQuest Community of Practice,” and has secured extramural funding for her research/outreach in pasture management, youth safety, and more. She collaborated with several state agencies to develop educational materials for equine owners and producers, including the award winning National Horse Safety on the Road Public Service Announcement. At the University of Arizona, her Extension program has a heavy emphasis on working with agricultural agents, 4-H leaders and youth to develop strong 4-H education programming, as well as addressing statewide industry issues. Dr. Greene has received state and national recognition for her teaching and Extension efforts from professional societies including the Equine Science Award (2013) from the American Society of Animal Scientists and the Equine Science Society, and most recently the Outstanding Professional of the Year (2015) from the Joint Council of Extension Professionals. She received a PhD from Kansas State University, a Master of Science in Animal Science from the University of Arizona, a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and an A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology from Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Joel Iverson – University of Montana

Joel Iverson PhDJoel Iverson (Ph.D, Arizona State University) is currently a professor at the University of Montana. His research explores the enactment and connection of communities through practices (CoP theory) across contexts including risk communication and crisis response as well as development or organizational renewal after crises. This work is based in structuration theory and understanding how communication creates organizations (communicative constitution of organizations). He applies this work in several contexts including organizational knowledge, communities of practice, risk and crisis communication, nonprofit organizing and communities. Specifically, he has published works relating to crisis response, volunteer management, board strategy and structure, organizational knowledge through communities of practice theory, structuration theory and development of the Four Flows Model of organizational communication. His research is published in various communication and nonprofit journals including: Management Communication Quarterly; Journal of Applied Communication Research; Nonprofit Management and Leadership; Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly; the Handbook of Organizational Communication, and numerous book chapters.

Rebecca Sero – Washington State University

Rebecca Sero PhDDr. Rebecca Sero is the evaluation specialist for Washington State University Extension. In this position, Sero leads a statewide evaluation effort and is responsible for increasing WSU Extension’s capacity to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs and services. Primarily, she works closely with teams to conduct periodic, focused evaluations of major WSU Extension programs. Additionally, Sero also develops and disseminates evaluation best practices and tools for use by Extension educators and develops evaluation-related professional development opportunities. For additional information, please visit her website at

Kris Hiney – Oklahoma State University

Kris Hiney PhDDr. Hiney is the equine extension specialist for Oklahoma State University. She works with equine owners and producers in the state of Oklahoma as well as 4-H and youth programs to promote best management practices. Her current focus is improving disaster preparedness for livestock and equine owners and introducing STEM to youth utilizing the horse as a model. She is an active collaborator with the ExtenionHorses, Inc. and EDEN community of practice in eXtension. Dr. Hiney also manages the OSUHorse Facebook, Youtube channel and website.

Susan Kerr – Washington State University

Susan Kerr DVM PhDDr. Susan Kerr received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Cornell University. She was in rural mixed-animal veterinary practice for seven years, then entered a doctoral program in education at Kansas State University. After receiving her PhD in Education, Dr. Kerr became the Washington State University-Klickitat County Extension director. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. Dr. Kerr is engaged nationally with 4-H animal science curriculum development, educational outreach to small ruminant producers and EDEN. She served on the eXtension Agrosecurity Community of Practice work team.

Jeanne Rankin – Montana State University

Jeanne Rankin DVMJeanne M. Rankin, DVM, a third generation Montanan, received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Montana State University and her DVM from Colorado State University. She practiced predominately equine, small ruminant, camelid and pet veterinary care for 17 years before joining the Montana Department of Livestock in November of 2004 as the assistant state veterinarian and later as the acting state veterinarian. Over six years with the department, she developed a passion for animal health education and biosecurity, local animal emergency preparedness and response, and is trained as a foreign animal disease diagnostician. Since 2011, Dr. Rankin is working with Montana State University Extension as an associate specialist in ag security and animal health. She has been active with the AVMA Leadership Conference, Animal Ag Liaison Committee and the Committee for Disaster and Emergency Issues. She is currently involved in a multi-state university biosecurity research project creating training modules for 4-H and FFA members as well as for producers.

Morgan Getchell – Morehead State University

Morgan Getchell PhDMorgan Getchell, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of English, Communication, Media & Languages at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Dr. Getchell recently completed her PhD at the University of Kentucky where she focused her scholarship on the areas of risk and crisis communication. Her dissertation, which examined emergent organizations in the 2014 West Virginia water contamination crisis, was funded by a grant from the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, a Department of Homeland Security center of excellence. She has also worked on funded projects through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture. Her research is published in several refereed journals and has been presented at regional, national, and international conferences. She teaches courses in public relations, media writing, crisis communication, and graduate level courses on communication theory and research methods. Morgan received a master of arts degree from the University of Kentucky, and a bachelor of arts degree from Western Kentucky University.

Eric Clark – University of Vermont

Eric ClarkEric M. Clark is a postdoctoral research scientist working with the University of Vermont SEGS Lab to develop digital field experiments related to the mitigation of infectious diseases across agricultural supply chains. Eric received a PhD in Data Science from the University of Vermont Complex Systems Center in 2018, in conjunction with the UVM Department of Surgery. His doctoral work integrates data mining and machine learning with computational linguistics to analyze public health indicators on social media. His research investigated public health trends mined from Twitter for sentiment extraction of health disparities and how their prevalence changes over time. He integrated machine learning classifiers to identify relevant indicators of patient reported outcomes as well as automated entities that could negatively affect public health. Previously, Eric interned at IBM Watson and helped build preliminary analytics and software prototypes of sensor systems to be integrated into a clinical trial conducted by Pfizer to monitor patients afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease. Eric also has experience in complex network theory and modeling contagion outbreaks across the swine industry in a project funded by the US Department of Agriculture. He is interested in implementing data science and mathematical theory to solve real-world, interdisciplinary problems.

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