Staff Directory

Breck Bowden

Lake Champlain Sea Grant Director
Institution: University of Vermont
Phone: 802-656-2513
  • Ph.D. 1982 North Carolina State University, Bioogeochemistry of nitrogen in coastal ecosystems
  • M.S. 1976 North Carolina State University, Microbial numbers and biomass in aquatic ecosystems
  • B.S. 1973 University of Georgia, Zoology and Chemistry

Dr. Bowden is the Robert and Genevieve Patrick Professor in Watershed Science and Planning in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He teaches undergraduate courses in the Environmental Sciences curriculum and graduate courses in the Aquatic of Ecology and Watershed sciences curriculum at the University of Vermont. He is the Director of the Vermont Water Resources in Lake Studies Center and leads the Vermont component of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative.Dr. Bowden's research interests focus on the interactions among land use, land cover, and water resources. He has conducted research on wetland, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems in temperate, tropical, and arctic biomes and has been involved with strategic planning in universities and in government agencies.His current research projects focus on the effects of exurban development on stormwater runoff in Vermont and on climate change impacts in the arctic. Dr. Bowden is active in national and international programs to that seek to integrate science in resource management decision making, including the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, Hydrology for Environment Life and Policy (HELP), the National Environmental Observatory Network (NEOaN), and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH).

Ashley Eaton

Interim Aquatic Science Literacy Educator and UVM Watershed Alliance Program Coordinator
Institution: University of Vermont
Phone: (802) 859-3086 ext 340
  • M.S. Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Expected 2017
  • B.S. Education, Environmental Studies, University of Vermont, 2013

Ashley joined LCSG and UVM WA in November 2015. She is most likely found hiking, biking, and exploring the Green Mountains. Ashley realizes her education and work pursuits to be embedded in the natural world, working towards the development of a more sustainable future for Vermont. She regards numerous life experiences as integral to this life pursuit, from her early childhood memories of exploring Lake Champlain to directing conservation programming for VT Fish and Wildlife. In 2013 Ashley received her Bachelor's of Science from UVM in Elementary Education with a concentration in Environmental Science/Studies. She has spent the last few years immersed in environmental education and outreach. Currently she is enrolled in the Master's of Science in Natural Resources studying Leadership for Sustainability (MSLS) where she is focusing on ecological and educational impacts of community-based service learning projects. 


Jurij Homziak

Emeritis Director of Outreach and Education
Institution: University of Vermont
  • Ph.D. Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1985
  • M.S. Agricultural Development (ABT), Wye College, University of London
  • M.A. Biology/Ecology, San Diego State University, 1977
  • B.S. Zoology, cum laude, San Diego State University, 1975

Jurij retired n March 2015. Prior to his retirement he oversaw the LCSG's extension and education activities to enhance awareness and understanding of coastal development, water quality, aquatic resources, nuisance aquatic species, land use and watershed management issues for New York-Vermont-Quebéc Lake Champlain Basin. He also conducted applied research in participatory, community-based watershed management and water quality protection, lay water quality monitoring and urban stream restoration.

Mark Malchoff

Aquatic Resources Specialist
Institution: SUNY Plattsburgh
Phone: 518-564-3037
  • M.S. Environmental Studies, Bard College, 1993
  • B.S. Natural Resources, Cornell University, 1976

Mark represents LCSG in regional and national fisheries and aquatic habitat initiatives. As the Aquatic Resources Specialist, he leads all activities associated with fisheries extension and aquatic invasive species, and he contributes to lake based sustainable communities and economic development. Prior to his work with LCSG, Mark was employed with New York Sea Grant and Cornell Cooperative Extension since 1984.

Timothy Mihuc

Co-Director, LCRI Coordinator, Associate Professor of Environmental Science
Institution: SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Ph.D. Biology, Idaho State University, 1994
  • M.S. Zoology, Oklahoma State University, 1989
  • B.S. Biology, Oral Roberts University

Timothy (Tim) Mihuc oversees LCSG's SUNY Plattsburgh operations and serves as the coordinator of the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh. Tim began his career with an undergraduate independent research project on nutrient limitation of algae in a small eutrophic lake in Oklahoma. He continued his education as an aquatic ecologist through studies on invertebrate life-history ecology in a Colorado alpine wetland (M.S.) and post-fire food web dynamics in Yellowstone National Park streams (Ph.D.). He spent several years at Louisiana State University as a post-doctoral researcher (1994-1996) conducting invasive species research in the Atchafalaya River Basin, the largest contiguous hardwood swamp ecosystem in the U.S.  From 1996-1999 Tim served as director of the Great Rivers Field Station (Illinois Natural History Survey) where he led a multidisciplinary research team working on the Upper Mississippi River. He has published over 35 research articles including journals such as Ecology, Freshwater Biology, Aquatic Sciences, Hydrobiologia, Journal of Great Lakes Research and American Midland Naturalist and has co-edited the book volume titled “Lake Champlain: Partnership and research in the new millennium,” published by Kluwer Academic publishers. Tim’s professional areas of interest include aquatic food webs, fish population dynamics, ecological integrity and aquatic biodiversity. He enjoys outdoor activities, particularly fly-fishing, skiing, hiking and mountain climbing (preferably combined). 

Linda Patterson

Land-Use Planning and Water Quality Educator
Institution: University of Vermont
Phone: 802-656-7668
  • MFA, Bennington College, 2003
  • MSW, University of Minnesota, 1981
  • B.A. Harvard University, 1978

Linda joined LCSG in August, 2015. She is responsible for coordinating our education programs to target professional groups and municipal board members on the impacts of land use on water quality. Linda will focus her efforts on a suite of courses targeted to Real Estate professionals licensed in Vermont and will expand those offerings to New York licensees. She will also further develop the Sustainable Landscape Stewards Program to offer high-impact programming targeting municipal planning and development review boards.

Linda’s life-long devotion to the health and welfare of Lake Champlain inspired her transition from a social work career to working for the Lake.  She is co-founder of Ahead of the Storm, a local tri-town collaborative providing education and resources for private and public landowners concerned with stormwater runoff.  Her involvement with local watershed initiatives includes her role as Lake Wise Leader through the Department of Environmental Conservation and Blue Green Algae tracker with the Lake Champlain Committee. Linda’s family has owned a summer home on Lake Champlain since the 1930’s.  She is an avid open-water swimmer, hiker, and cross-country skiier, and enjoys sharing time on the Lake with her extended family.


Elissa Schuett

Research Coordinator and Communicator
Institution: University of Vermont
Phone: 802-656-4277
  • M.S. Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology, Frostburg State University, 2007
  • B.S. Biology, Bradley University, 2001

Elissa has a background in stream ecology with expertise in biogeochemistry and macroinvertebrate ecology. She has done extensive ecological research across the country, including studying streams in Arctic Alaska as well as in Lake Champlain and streams in Vermont. Her research experience provides her with a strong background in ecological research and experimental design. In addition to research, Elissa is passionate about science communication and connecting researchers to users. 

Elissa manages the research program of Lake Champlain Sea Grant and works with researchers to develop outreach materials for their projects.  Elissa also manages communications, including content development and management of a Lake Champlain Sea Grant supported program ecoNEWS VT.  This online portal highlights key findings from ecological research and monitoring being conducted across Vermont. The portal connects scientists, practitioners, policy-makers, and other interested individuals with information distilled from the latest research and monitoring on Vermont's ecology. 

Elissa is also passionate about bicycle commuting, baking, and adventuring with her husband. She hopes to instill these interests into her adorable daughter, who has stolen her heart. 

Kris Stepenuck

Extension Leader
Institution: University of Vermont
Phone: 802-656-8504
  • Ph.D., Environment and Resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
  • M.S., Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 1999
  • B.S., Water Resource Management, University of New Hampshire, 1995

Kris develops, implements and oversees LCSG extension and outreach activities across the Lake Champlain Basin. These are designed to promote healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient communities, and an environmentally literate populace. Her current outreach efforts include clean boating and best winter maintenance practice education. She comes to LCSG after nearly 15 years coordinating a volunteer stream monitoring program for the State of Wisconsin. Her past research has included assessing impacts of land use on water quality, comparing water monitoring methods, and assessing outcomes of volunteer water monitoring programs. Her research interests also include social marketing and assessing attitude and behavior changes that may result from water-related community outreach programming.

Grant Taylor

Green Infrastructure Collaborative Assistant
Institution: University of Vermont
Phone: 802.318.8786
  • Associate's Degree in Environmental Science with focus in Sustainable Building Technology, Community College of Vermont, Expected 2015

Grant is a member of a new program managed by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) called ECO AmeriCorps. He is serving for the next year as the Green Infrastructure Collaborative (GIC) Assistant with the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program and the Vermont DEC. The GIC is a facilitator of communication between professionals, organizations, agencies, and property owners throughout Vermont about Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) and Low Impact Development (LID). In his position he will be working to provide education and training to municipalities and residents to promote GSI and LID implementation.

Grant is currently enrolled as a student at the Community College of Vermont (CCV) and will be receiving his Associate’s Degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Sustainable Building Technology in December 2015. He has plans to begin a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont in 2016.

Grant has experience working with the Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research on their Research on Adaptation to Climate Change program as well as several years working for a heavy civil construction company on projects including substation reconstruction, vapor extraction well installation, soil remediation, and stormwater pond construction. He enjoys hiking, snowboarding, volunteering, and playing soccer. He lives in Burlington, Vermont and is interested in community involvement as it pertains to sustainable growth and development.

Becky Tharp

Program Manager: Green Infrastructure Collaborative
Institution: University of Vermont
Phone: 802-656-2514
  • PhD Student, Plant and Soil Sciences Dept, University of Vermont
  • M.S. Natural Resources Management, Univeristy of Vermont, 2011
  • B.A. Extension Studies, Harvard University, 2004

Becky manages the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, a program of Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation developed in the summer of 2015. The Collaborative promotes Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) practices as the preferred methodologies to manage stormwater runoff from developed lands in Vermont. This work includes the coordination of the Green Infrastructure Roundtable, an ad hoc group of individuals from the public and private sector who come together on a quarterly basis to discuss various aspects of GSI and LID. Further efforts include development of technical GSI trainings for design professionals, a new career conference for college students, and continued research and extension on the efficacy of GSI practices. 

Becky joined the Lake Champlain Sea Grant team as the Land Use Planning and Water Quality Educator in the spring of 2013. She brings with her an interest in using ecological systems to solve complex pollution challenges. She is currently pursuing her PhD in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department at UVM researching innovative technologies to address stormwater pollution in northern climates. She lives in Williston with her handsome husband, loveable sons, and brilliant dog.

Kelly Westhelle

Field Technician/Program Assistant
Institution: University of Vermont
Phone: 802-656-7668
  • B.S. Environmental Sciences: Ecological Design, cum laude, University of Vermont

Kelly joined the Lake Champlain Sea Grant in Fall 2014 as an intern, and is now a field technician and program assistant. With the Sea Grant, she monitors water quality and manages and manipulates field datasets. She also assists with LCSG outreach efforts, including those for lake, clean boating, and watershed education.

Kelly recently graduated from UVM as an Honors College Scholar within RSENR’s Environmental Sciences program with a concentration in Ecological Design. Her interests in plants, phytoremediation, and ecological systems were reflected in her Honors thesis, where she evaluated the phosphorus uptake of twelve Vermont-native plant species when grown in simulated floating treatment wetlands. Her research informed the plant species selection for the LCSG’s floating treatment wetland project in South Burlington, Vermont.

She enjoys reading, writing, photography, and amassing more houseplants than her windowsills allow.