Staff Directory

Breck Bowden

Lake Champlain Sea Grant Director
Institution: University of Vermont
  • 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).

Erin De Vries

Aquatic Science Literacy Educator and UVM Watershed Alliance Coordinator
Institution: University of Vermont
  • M.S. Ecological Planning, University of Vermont, 2008
  • B.A. Environmental Science, concentration in Conservation Biology and Botany, Franklin Pierce College, 1999

Erin has worked as the UVM WA Education & Outreach Coordinator/Aquatic Science Literacy Specialist since May 2010. She has expertise in natural resource planning and management through community based involvement in watershed stewardship and restoration. She has focused on aquatic resource conservation through jobs in the private, public and non-profit sector throughout North America and the Caribbean. She enjoys her outreach work as a board member of the State-Wide Environmental Education Programs (SWEEP) and networking with Vermonters to increase environmental literacy of our precious water resources. Erin is interested in restoration ecology, exploring bogs with her son and husband as well as hiking, biking, yoga, and photography.

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
  • 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). 

Elissa Schuett

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

Elissa is working as the Research Coordinator and Communicator for Lake Champlain Sea Grant. She also works with the Arctic LTER Streams Research project and Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center. 

Elissa has worked on many research projects around the country, including in Sub-Alpine Colorado, long-leaf pine wiregrass communities in Georgia, Appalachian Plateau streams in Maryland, and the Arctic Tundra in Alaska. Her interests lie in water research and resources, including restoration and conservation. 

Kris Stepenuck

Extension Leader
Institution: University of Vermont
  • 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 joined LCSG in July 2015. She will be overseeing LCSG Extension and outreach activities across the Lake Champlain Basin. Part of her efforts will include sharing UVM faculty research with communities to promote healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient communities, and an environmentally literate populace. She comes to LCSG after 14 years coordinating a volunteer stream monitoring program for the State of Wisconsin. Her previous 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 assessing attitude and behavior changes that may result from water-related community outreach programming.

Becky Tharp

Land-Use Planning and Water Quality Educator
Institution: University of Vermont
  • M.S. Natural Resources Management, Univeristy of Vermont, 2011
  • B.A. Extension Studies, Harvard University, 2004

Becky is responsible for managing LCSG's urban non-point source pollution and stormwater education programs. This position develops and conducts outreach and trainings that teach the connection between land use and water quality. Notable programs to accomplish this goal include: Sustainable Landscape Stewards, Water Resources for Realtors, Web-based Mapping for Real Estate Professionals, and the Let it Rain Stormwater Program. Becky is also available to work with municipalities on improving the management of stormwater and planning for resilient responses to climate change. 

Becky joined the Lake Champlain Sea Grant team in the spring of 2013. She brings with her an interest in using ecological systems to solve complex pollution challenges. Her graduate research focused on Mentha aquatica (an emergent mint species) as a living drinking water disinfectant for use in developing communities. Becky's past experience working in the stormwater sector in Vermont contributes to partnership development and project initiation across the Basin. She lives in Williston with her husband, two sons, and dog, and serves on the town's Development Review Board.