Spencer is an interdisciplinary empiricist and modeler who works at the nexus of social and ecological systems science. His research on outdoor recreation addresses questions about how public land management influences the distribution, behaviors, and preferences of park visitors. Spencer is known internationally for innovating the use of social media and other volunteered information as data on outdoor recreation, to supplement traditional methods for measuring visitor use. In partnership with governments, NGOs, and corporations, Spencer leads projects that develop open-source software and reproducible approaches to make big geographic data and models more accessible for decision-makers.
Spencer is a Senior Data Science Fellow at the University of Washington’s eScience Institute for Data-Driven Discovery, a Senior Fellow for the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, and he leads the Outdoor Recreation and Data Lab. Spencer earned his PhD from the University of British Columbia.
Laura is a Research Scientist in the UW Outdoor Recreation & Data Lab. She has a background informing land management through ecological research and monitoring. Laura is broadly interested in working with diverse stakeholders and datasets to understand the relationship between people and nature in order to manage public lands. Prior to the Outdoor R&D Lab, she worked with federal and state agencies to monitor the impact human activities have on aquatic ecosystems in Maine and Colorado.
MSc in Ecology and Environmental Science
University of Maine
BA in Biological Sciences
University of Denver
Dieta is a Data Scientist in the Outdoor R&D Lab. She is currently working on projects that use ecological networks to understand how natural ecosystems function. This involves building databases, visualizing interaction networks, and writing software to analyze their characteristics and behaviour. She is interested in using data and technology to answer ecological questions that have implications for humans, the environment, and their interactions. Dieta has a background in marine biology, evolution, and ecology and received her PhD from McGill University.
PhD in Biology
MSc in Biology
Cal Poly Pomona
BSc in Biology
University of British Columbia
Jacob is a Data Scientist in the Outdoor R&D Lab. He builds and maintains the core software tools for the Lab. He also develops new methods for projects that use big data or machine learning methods and works with partners to implement scalable, innovative solutions to recreation and environmental challenges. Jacob enjoys solving practical challenges using new technology and data science methods. He has a background in environmental consulting and experience working with a variety of state and federal agencies on environmental and economic issues.
MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy
University of Chicago
BA in Economics
University of Southern California
Emmi is a Research Scientist in the UW Outdoor Recreation & Data Lab. She works closely with partners to manage research projects that combine traditional recreation research methods and social media data. She also has experience and interest in community science and the use of crowd-sourced information. Emmi is broadly interested in people’s connections to landscapes and experiences in green spaces. Emmi received her B.S. in Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation Biology. She previously worked in Mt. Rainier National Park and the North Cascades National Park studying plant community ecology.
BS in Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation Biology
University of Washington
Sama is a research scientist in the Outdoor R&D lab. She focuses on the quantitative aspects of the group’s work; including building better visitation models, exploring why people choose to go to particular places in the outdoors, and investigating the role that social media and crowd-sourced data can play in supplementing existing methods for learning about visitation.
Sama enjoys co-developing projects with practitioners and thinking about how science and better data can improve decision making. She brings experience in ecology, statistics, and land conservation.
MS in Statistics
University of Alaska Fairbanks
BA in Biology
Malia is an undergraduate student pursuing a BA in Geography (Data Science) with a minor in Informatics. She has expertise in programming, data analysis, and data visualization, and is passionate about preserving public lands and making outdoor recreation accessible to all.
BA in Geography (2022)
University of Washington
Alex is a chatbot developer with the Outdoor R&D lab. Currently, he helps develop Vic, a chatbot deployed at National Forests that gathers information to help researchers understand how to improve opportunities provided on public lands. Alex is broadly interested in the application of data science and machine learning techniques towards the improvement of social wellbeing and public health. He also enjoys playing tennis, short-distance running, and composing/playing music.
BS in Computer Science and Mathematics (2022)
Arizona State University
Music Composition, Jazz Performance
The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music