Our Faculty and Staff

Many faculty are involved with the Hixon Center as advisors to F&ES students through the Hixon Fellowship program. 

  • Faculty/Staff

    Gaboury Benoit

    Gaboury Benoit, Hixon Faculty Director


    Professor Benoit’s research and teaching focus on the behavior, transport, and fate of chemicals in natural waters, soils, sediments, and biota. Two special areas of interest are nonpoint source pollutants and biogeochemistry of trace metals and radionuclides. Most of his research involves state-of-the-art analytical methods and carefully designed field sampling programs, with results verified by laboratory simulations or simple mathematical models. His research is conducted in a watershed context, and study sites include freshwater and terrestrial systems, as well as estuarine and coastal environments. Four current research emphases are the use of modern clean techniques to investigate trace metals; micronutrient limitation by Cu and Fe; spatial and temporal variability of nonpoint source pollution; and human-environment interactions in urban areas. He is a fellow of Trumbull College.

    Mark Ashton

    Mark Ashton, URI Faculty Director

    Professor Ashton conducts research on the biological and physical processes governing the regeneration of natural forests and on the creation of their agroforestry analogs. In particular, he seeks a better understanding of regeneration establishment among assemblages of closely related trees. His long-term research concentrates on tropical and temperate forests of the Asian and American realms. His field sites within these regions were selected specifically to allow comparison of growth, adaptation, and plasticity within and among close assemblages of species that have evolved within forest climates with differing degrees of seasonality. Findings from these studies have theoretical implications for understanding the maintenance of diversity of tree species in forested ecosystems and the adaptability of forests to change in climate. The results of his research have been applied to the development and testing of silvicultural techniques for restoration of degraded lands and for the management of natural forests for a variety of timber and nontimber products. Field sites include tropical forests in Sri Lanka and Panama, temperate forests in India and New England, and boreal forests in Saskatchewan, Canada.

    Colleen Murphy-Dunning

    Colleen Murphy-Dunning, Center Director

    (203) 432-6570

    Colleen is the Director of the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology and the Urban Resources Initiative. She also partners with Professor Benoit to lead a field based module on urban ecology for all incoming Yale F&ES graduate students. Prior to coming to Yale University she taught agroforestry at the Kenya Forestry College and reviewed natural resource operations in Papua New Guinea for the Rainforest Action Network. Colleen received her B.S. in Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University, and M.S. in Forestry from Humboldt State University. 

  • Hixon Center Program

    • Will Tisdale

      Will Tisdale, GreenSkills Field Crew Supervisor

      Caro Scanlan

      Caro Scanlan, GreenSkills Manager


      Matt Viens

      Matt Viens, GreenSkills Program Manager


      Matt received his Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2016, where he focused his studies on urban and community forestry.  Prior to studying at Yale, Matt worked at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., where he worked with the Chief Innovation Officer to spearhead initiatives related to crowdsourcing and citizen science.  He has been with URI since 2015, transitioning from a summer Greenspace intern to GreenSkills Program Manager. In this current role Matt helps oversee all aspects of the GreenSkills program, including management of a seasonal crew of 6 Yale supervisors and 18 high school students who contribute to weekly tree planting activities. Matt has also held positions as an apprentice forester in the Yale Forests system, a community outreach intern with the the New Haven Land Trust, and a summer camp counselor.

      Anna Pickett

      Anna Pickett, Development and Outreach Manager


      Anna earned a Master’s of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2010 and a BA in environmental studies from Oberlin College. She lives in New Haven with her husband and two sons. Previously, she worked at the Ford Foundation on its environmental justice grantmaking team, for other environmental non-profits, as a social worker in a battered women’s shelter, and as a political campaign field staffer.

      Chris Ozyck

      Chris Ozyck, Associate Director

      (203) 432-6189

      Chris Ozyck is the Associate Director for the Urban Resources Initiative. He graduated from the University of Connecticut 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Design. Chris has owned and operated a landscape design and construction business for over ten years in New Haven.

      Chris has been involved in and led numerous Greenway initiatives including being lead organizer for the Vision trail, the Harbor Trail and the historic Quinnipiac River Loop trail. He was the founding President of the Board for the Elm City Parks Conservancy and the newly formed water pollution mitigation endowed fund. Chris lives in Fairhaven Heights with his wife Rosemary and two daughters.