New Faces in the Department of Forestry in 2021

New employees in the Department of Forestry

looking up at a tall tree and blue sky in a forest


Associate Director, US and Canada Lead,  Forest Carbon & Climate Program 

Kylie Clay is the Associate Director, US and Canada Lead, for the FCCP team. Her favorite outdoor activities are hiking and picnicking. Kylie’s favorite place in the world is the Acadia National Park, both for the forests and the lobster. She got her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Washington with a focus on the political economy of natural resource governance and her MSc in Political Economy and Political Science, London School of Economics. Kylie has her BA in Political Science and French, from the University of Michigan. 



Research Associate

Dr. Chris Fernandez is a soil microbial ecologist that is interested in understanding the influence of microbes on soil biogeochemical cycles in a changing world. He is particularly interested in mycorrhizal fungi, which are a group of symbiotic fungi that colonize the roots of most plants and provide nutrients in exchange for carbon, and how they influence carbon and nitrogen cycles in forest ecosystems. Currently, he is working with Aki Koyama and Andy Vander Yacht investigating the influence of plant-soil feedback on oak regeneration success in red pine plantations across Michigan.



Director, MassTimber@MSU

Sandra has diverse experience in the non-profit and public sectors with a particular focus on climate and environmental policy, communication, and engagement. In 2018, she completed a mid-career Master of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley; her thesis focused on removing barriers to the manufacture and adoption of cross-laminated timber in California in order to fund increased forest management to achieve forest health and resilience goals while storing forest carbon in the built environment. Sandra was born and raised in Michigan and is excited to reconnect with the Mitten after spending time on the East Coast and the past 20 years in California.



Research Associate 

Dr. Cristina Barber Alvarez-Buylla (professionally Cristina Barber) is a tropical forest ecologist. Her main interests are tree demography and ecological modeling. She recently finished her Ph.D., and is now a research associate with Dr. Richard Kobe. In the past, she has worked on creating predictive maps of tree recruitment and finding drivers of adult tree survival in agricultural landscapes using remote sensing and field data. Now for her postdoc, she will be working on understanding the effects of climate on tree demography in Costa Rica using a long-term database of 20 years. She is incredibly excited about the opportunity to work with such a fantastic data set!

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