Jessica Young, Ph.D.

Dr. Jessica Young

Professor of Environment and Sustainability, Master in Environmental Management and Master of Science in Ecology

B.A., University of California San Diego
Ph.D., Purdue University
Office Location
Leslie J. Savage Library 120


Dr. Young has worked in the field of conservation biology since the 1990’s. Her research, along with others, resulted in the recognition of a new species, the Gunnison Sage-grouse, as well as documenting its imperiled habitat and status. During her career, she has supervised student research on a variety of projects and participated in local stakeholder working groups as well as advised the United Nations International Union for the Conservation of Nature specialist grouse group on global conservation issues. Her graduate students focus on a range of topics including: sustainable development and community empowerment abroad; human-wildlife conflict mitigation in a variety of species (e.g. black bears, leopard frogs, Gunnison Sage-grouse, mountain lions, grizzly bears etc.); applied conservation for management agencies and non-profits, environmental education, science communication, air and habitat monitoring, and climate action planning. Dr. Young is also the Master in Environmental Management program’s global coordinator and a member of the MS in Ecology faculty team.

View Dr. Young's Curriculum Vitae


2014-2016 Cohort

Cassidy Brush: The Collaboration Connection; A project connecting conservation communities in Costa Rica to Colorado.  Community Sponsor: Debra Hamilton, Director of the Monteverde Institute, Costa Rica.

Tyler Grimes: The Nduru Sustainable Development: A partnership between Eco2librium and New Creations Self-Help Group, Kenya. Community Sponsor: Dr. Mark Lung, President Eco2librium

Dominique Naccarato: T4U: Transit Collective for the Upper Arkansas, Colorado. Community Sponsors: Wendell Pryor, Director of Economic Development, Chaffee County and County Commissioner Bob Christiansen

Ryan Wilbur Assessing Potential Bias in Black Bear Conflict Reporting; Community Sponsor: Stacy Lischka, Human Dimensions Researcher Colorado Parks and Wildlife

2015-2017 Cohort

Joe Acampora: Connecting the San Francisco Bay Area with its Wild Pumas : Courtney Coon, Wildlife Biologist, Felidae Conservation Fund. Please see his project video @

Nell Jordan: Environmental Communications and Storytelling, Community Sponsor: Michelle Auerback. Please see her videos @

2016-2018 Cohort

Taylor Asao: Sustainable fisheries and marketing for social causes:  Community Partner Loki and Local I’a.  Sponsor Petra MacGowan.

Hedda Peterson: An analysis of the barriers and opportunities for impacting Southwestern Land Trust’s ability to implement climate-inclusive conservation.  Community partner, Land Trust Alliance

Lance Kittel: Montevida Sustainability Center: using green building in environmental planning.  Community partner, Cold Harbour. 

Alison Yeates: Ranier Valley Nature Alliance: Urban Community Renewal and Engagement with an asset-based approach.  Community Sponsor, Forterra.

Julie Russell: Peace Corps Master's International student working in sustainable community development in Paraguay. Julie will be completing her MEM program abroad while serving in the Peace Corps.

2017-2019 Cohort

Aurora Flynn: The design and development of Western’s Climate Action Plan for a Sustainable Society.

Stephanie Lein: Co-creating solutions to air pollution in Nuiqsut, Alaska

Ellen Ross: Solarize Gunnison County: A community solar group-purchase program. Community Sponsor: Solar Energy International.

Rachel Weakland: Building Bridges and empowering global leaders. Community Sponsor. BuildOn, Global Leaders, and Iracambi Rainforest Conservation.

Clarinda Wilson: Remote Identification Methods for Habitat of the Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) in the Gunnison National Forest. Community Sponsor: US Forest Service, GMUG.

Graduate Courses: I teach in the MEM program include (but are not limited to): Science of Environmental Management, Essential Skills for Environmental Management, and special topics such as this Costa Rica course:

Undergraduate Courses: Animal Behavior, Conservation Biology, Conservation Genetics, Ecology, Ecuador and Galapagos Field Experience, Environmental Biology, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Applications, Environmental Capstone, Evolution of Mating Systems, Freshman Seminar in Biology, Field Biology, Galapagos and Ecuadorian Rainforest Explorations, Marine Biology in Baja California, Ornithology, Principles of Biology Course and Lab, Speciation, Science Technology and the Environment, Wildlife Biology, and Zoology

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