Faculty Spotlight – Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy Johnson shares how he got into forestry and the different avenues the program has to offer.

Dr. Jeremy Johnson is originally from Fort Morgan, Colorado. He has earned his PhD in Biogeography at Texas A&M University. At MSU, he is working to develop courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level that will train students on the theory and application of genetics and genomics in forestry.

Why are you interested in forestry?

Growing up in Colorado I enjoyed spending time in the forests camping, fishing, and hiking. This led me to pursue a degree in natural resource management at Colorado State University. After finishing my undergraduate degree at CSU, I held seasonal positions with both the National Park Service and the Forest Service. With the forest service I was mostly administering timber sales and performing stand exams. After several seasons with the government and a short stint working as a remote sensing analyst with Ducks Unlimited, I started graduate school at Texas A&M University with interest in understanding how forests responded to climate change. My dissertation research took me to forests from Alaska to New Zealand as I explored the genetics of seed dispersal and forest response to climate change. One of the most influential times for me, from a forestry perspective, was my post-doc with the US Forest Service at the Dorena Genetics Resource Center (DGRC) in Cottage Grove, Oregon. It was at DGRC that I started exploring the genetics of disease resistance in forest species and thinking about forest genetics in a very applied way.

What should people know about this program?

I really love the department of forestry at MSU. Forestry is one of those programs that acts like a big tent. You can work on so many different interesting problems from economics to ecology, from human dimensions to chemical engineering, and, of course, genetics. The forestry program is training students to tackle some of our worlds biggest problems.

Advice for students:

Part of working in forestry is spending time in the forest. I think a good piece of advice is to spend some time working in forests. This allows you to incorporate your learning in a very hands-on way. Also, make sure to take advantage of opportunities and classes across the spectrum of forestry. Explore the biological, economic, wood product, and human dimensions aspects of the field.

Did you find this article useful?