Meet the LUFA Team
LUFA is a research group led by Dr. Jess Vogt at DePaul University, located in the beautifully-treed neighborhood of Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois. We are based in the Department of Environmental Science & Studies and frequently collaborate with people from around the Chicagoland area and beyond! Learn more about individual members of our team below.
Jess is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Studies (ENV) at DePaul University (Chicago, Illinois). She received her PhD, MPA, and MSES from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana), and her B.A. in biology and environmental studies from Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin). As leader of LUFA, she studies tree planting, neighborhoods, and urban social-ecological systems through the lens of sustainability science. She is passionate about creating spaces in which everyone can find their place to contribute to creating a world where all can thrive and flourish. Her quest is to answer the question, How can we create more resilient communities of humans and nature?
AT LEFT: Jess is standing in front of to a propped up dead tree branch in Dongling Park in Shenyang, Lioning, China, during the Urban Forests and Sustainability International Symposium in May 2016.
Elene is in her final year of her environmental science undergraduate degree at DePaul University concentrating in biology. She is currently assisting in the Google Street View project, in which she is analyzing storm damage in trees from the derecho windstorm within Chicago during the summer of 2020. Currently Elene is also collecting data and researching for her thesis project, assessing the carbon storage of Harbert Park in Evanston, Illinois after the invasive emerald ash borer beetle has proliferated the area. Elene has worked on the conservation care and horticulture volunteer team at the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where she was responsible for tending to endangered Blanding’s turtles native to Chicago and maintaining the flora of the butterfly haven. When not fulfilling these roles, Elene continues to build her art portfolio, engages in terrestrial and aquatic gardening, and continues to learn about environmental health and restoring native lands throughout Chicago and beyond.
Photo and bio coming soon!
Kristine is a graduate student in the Environmental Science program. She has a BS in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois (2006). After 13 years as a hairstylist and business owner, she is combining her skills in teaching and communication with her lifelong interest in nature and ecology. Her role in LUFA will involve qualitative and quantitative research regarding stewardship and maintenance of newly planted trees and their survival outcomes with the CommuniTree project. Her interests include urban wildlife and biodiversity, as well as helping people reconnect to/recognize urban spaces as ecosystems. She loves exploring natural spaces as well as examining the moss, fungi, plants and wildlife in the playgrounds, parking lots and other overlooked areas in urban spaces. Kristine is also a volunteer at Garfield Park Conservatory, and at Urban Wildlife Institute, where she assists with urban wildlife biodiversity monitoring.
Nicole is studying Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainability and a minor in Climate Change Science and Policy at DePaul University. She is currently assisting in the CommuniTree Research project, designing and leading the execution of a tree re-inventory protocol taking place in the summer of 2021. In fall of 2021, Nicole plans to continue aiding in this research project by analyzing the data collected earlier in the year. Nicole is passionate about preservation, especially national parks, holding a personal goal to visit every United States national park in her lifetime. For over 15 years, Nicole has hunted for mushrooms every August in San Isabel National Forest, Colorado, contributing greatly to her love of nature. Outside of school and work, Nicole likes to relax by reading, playing video games, painting, and travelling.