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 Our Team

Dr. Meghann Jarchow

Department of Sustainability & Environment

Chair and Associate Professor


Dr. Jarchow is interested in sustainability as a framework through which to make the world a better place. Her specific focus within the field of sustainability is on creating more multifunctional landscapes within the former tallgrass prairie region and in sustainability education. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach to evaluating opportunities to enhancing the multifunctionality of this region. 

LinkedIn     |     Research Gate     |     Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Office Location

Akeley-Lawrence Science Center 201E

414 E. Clark St.

Vermillion, SD  57069

Office Phone

(605) 677-6122


Amin Rastandeh

Postdoctoral Researcher


Amin Rastandeh, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Sustainability and Environment at the University of South Dakota. Amin received his PhD in Landscape Architecture from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has served as a researcher in projects specializing in urban and regional ecology, biodiversity conservation, land-use land-cover assessment, and ecosystem services analysis. In the WAFERx project, Amin examines the spatial distribution of social values (SVs) associated with landscapes of the Upper Missouri River Basin (UMRB). Applying spatially explicit models, he depicts how SVs linked to landscapes of the UMRB interact with anthropogenic and biophysical factors.



Jacinda Maassen

PhD Student


Jacinda Maassen is a Sustainability Ph.D. student in the Department of Sustainability and Environment at the University of South Dakota. Jacinda received her masters’ degrees in Sustainable Development and Environmental Science from Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, respectively. For her Ph.D. research project, Jacinda is researching the regional food system of Sioux Falls, South Dakota specializing in dietary sustainability from a systems perspective.


Rina Thapa

Graduate Student


Rina Thapa, is a graduate student in the Department of Sustainability and Environment at the University of South Dakota. Rina received her undergraduate degree in Architecture from Kathmandu Engineering College of Katmandu, Nepal. Rina worked as an Architect for a year in Nepal. Currently, she is researching on projects specializing in biodiversity conservation for sustainability of town in Vermillion, South Dakota.



Jade Muller-Smit

Undergraduate Student


Jade Muller-Smit is an undergraduate student who will soon graduate with a double major in Political Science and Biology specializing in Conservation and Biodiversity from USD. Her research involved a literary analysis of the environmental and health impacts of animal agriculture. Building upon this background and branching off of the WAFERx project, Jade started working on finding a way in which humans could drastically increase land availability in the Upper Missouri River region. Reducing meat and dairy consumption would drastically increase the availability of land for other uses. In order to determine if this is a possibility, Jade worked on creating a survey to analyze food consumption trends, willingness to consume alternative meat products, aspects of carnism, and understanding of the environmental and health impacts of animal agriculture.


Lab Alumni

Alice Millikin

M.S.     Completed 2014

Current PhD student at West Virginia University in the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program.

Abby Davis

M.S.     Completed 2015

Elena Tsakakis

B.S. Biology (Sustainability Minor)     Completed 2016

Honors Thesis

Emily Roberson

B.A. Sustainability and Anthropology     Completed 2016

U. Discover Scholar & Honors Thesis

Shelby Huber

B.A. Media and Journalism (Entrepreneurial Studies Minor)     Completed 2016

Sustainability Program Technology Fellow

Maggie Squyer

B.S. Biology and Sustainability (Political Science Minor)     Completed 2018

U. Discover Scholar

Alexa Kruse

B.S. Biology and Sustainability     Completed 2018

U. Discover Scholar & Honors Thesis

Erin Wetzstein

B.S. Sustainability (Biology and Chemistry Minors)     Completed 2018

Undergraduate Research


Eva Soluk

M.S. Biology     Completed 2018
B.S. Biology (Sustainability Minor)

Daniel Whirlwind Soldier

Sustainable RIVER REU     May 2019


Lilly Sencenbaugh

May 2019

Undergraduate Research

Lindsay Wright

M.S. Sustainability     Completed 2019

Morgan Carnes

M.S. Sustainability     Completed 2019
B.S. Sustainability     Completed 2015

Tanner Hall

B.S. Sustainability      Completed 2019

Andy Sechrist

M.S. Sustainability     Completed 2020

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