Mark Bergstrom, Director
I am an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Utah. I earned my
B.S. at Washington State, M.A. at the University of Montana, and my Ph.D. from the
University of Oklahoma. My research and teaching area is interpersonal communication
and relationships, with particular interests in intergenerational relationships and
conflict, bereavement processes, and health care interactions.
My research advances and translates theoretical work in conflict, conflict management, aging, and intergenerational relationships into practical explanations, implications, and guidelines for younger care providers working with elderly patients. My work also translates theories in these areas to guidelines for nursing home personnel, families of elderly individuals living in nursing homes, and residents themselves. Recent work investigates the implicit or lay theories older adults have for successful aging. This research refines successful aging theory and potentially improves the interactions of people providing assistance to elderly individuals coping with bereavement.
Erin Halcomb, Associate Director
Erin is a fan of interdisciplinary education. Her own professional background has combined forest restoration, wildlife biology, and freelance writing. She also served for two years in AmeriCorps, and is a graduate of the Utah’s Environmental Humanities master’s program.
For the last four operating seasons, Erin has helped to manage and develop the Center’s programming. She feels privileged to live in the Centennial Valley, explore the greater Yellowstone, and to be a part of this dynamic facility, which brings together students and faculty from diverse disciplines to discuss: leadership ethics, artistic craft, and ecology. Erin’s committed to sharing her knowledge and passion for the natural world, and to growing the Center’s mission to service and sustainability.
Ryan Alger, Environmental Education Assistant & Field Coordinator
I have four summers of experience as a wilderness canoe guide in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. I earned a B.S. in Environmental Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where I did research on the geomorphology of Lake Superior, glacial deposits in Yosemite, and studied soil development in Wisconsin. I spent the last year working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in the bureau of fish management.
I’m thrilled to be spending the summer in Centennially Valley where I can share my passion for the natural world with a diverse group of students. My goal is to provide an enriching experience that will help foster a sense of place, and build a connection to the landscape. While also teaching about the natural and cultural history of the valley and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
Samantha Helene Thomas, Social Media
Samantha is a first generation college student attending the University of Utah. She is double majoring in Environmental Sustainability and Science and International Studies with a minor in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Her interests align with her academic goals; she hikes, climbs, and spends most of her free time traveling.