New Faculty Spotlight

Jessica Salo

saloOriginally from West Burlington, a small town in upstate New York, Jessica Salo comes to the University of Northern Colorado with an extensive background in geography. She received her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo in Geography and soon after found she wanted to live near mountains. This desire led her to Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina to pursue a master’s degree in Geography, where she focused on physical geography and global imaging systems (GIS).

Salo always wanted to teach, but before pursuing a career in academia, she wanted to gain field experience so she could give her students a valuable insight of the real world. After receiving her master’s degree, Salo began work for an engineering firm in North Carolina, working on water resources and flood plain mapping for FEMA. This work then led her to northern Wyoming where she again worked for an engineering firm, this time using her GIS knowledge to support oil and gas operations.

Returning to academia, Salo then began her pursuit of a doctoral degree in Ecology from Colorado State University. Her dissertation explores a new methods map for Rocky Mountain vegetation along rivers and maps, also known as riparian vegetation. The goal of her dissertation is to help land managers, the U.S. Forest Service, and conservation groups to understand where these resources are located. Riparian vegetation is vital to the ecosystem, as 80% of animals will use this vegetation at some point in their life cycle. Salo is also researching the impact humans have on riparian vegetation, as plains and mountain valley bottoms are the most human-modified areas.  Salo is expected to complete her dissertation and receive her doctoral degree in the spring of 2014. In the future, Salo hopes to work with students to expand her riparian mapping nationwide.

As a side project, Salo is working with a professor at CSU, as well as other national groups, to create a method to measure natural gas leaks in urban areas. By using a specialized vehicle from CSU, the team is analyzing data from a methane sensor that also takes GPS points and wind speed. Methane is one of the main components of natural gas, as well as a potent greenhouse gas. Entitled “Street Level Methane Mapping,” Salo and the team hope this data will help local utilities increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases emissions.

In the spring semester of 2014, Salo is teaching World Geography, Introduction to GIS and GPS, and Geospatial Programming.

Salo lives in Fort Collins with her long term partner, Kevin, and their two Alaskan malamutes, Isis and Cash. Salo enjoys running, soccer, yoga, and bicycling in her spare time.

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New Faculty

Harmony Newman, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies

Jessica Salo, CR Lecturer of Geography

Sarah Cornish, Assistant Professor of English

Sarah Romano, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs