Sandra Marquart-PyattWritten by Andy McGlashen, Environmental Science and Policy Program

Sandy Marquart-Pyatt arrives at MSU this fall as part of a hiring cluster in Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS), the study of complex interactions within and among natural and human systems.

In her work, Marquart-Pyatt, who is jointly appointed in Sociology and ESPP, has particularly unpacked the human side of the dynamic. Many layers are involved in articulating relationships between societies and environments, including individuals, households, communities, states, regions, and nations. She uses multi-level or nested modeling to articulate these dynamics.

Marquart-Pyatt's interest in questions of scale and comparison has led her away from her origins as an English major; today, she's a self-professed "statistics geek" and expert in stats-heavy modeling.

This toolkit has allowed her to explore a diverse set of issues related to environment and politics. Most recently, as an assistant professor at Utah State, she has studied what influences environmental attitudes and behaviors cross-nationally, and how these intersect with political beliefs and actions. She works on topics both local and global, from the sustainability of communities in Utah to environmental concerns comparatively. She's also interested in environmental issues in Poland.

"I'm a sociologist by training," Marquart-Pyatt said, "but my areas of interest within sociology are pretty diverse."

This fall, in addition to teaching a course in political sociology, she'll work with Laura Schmitt Olabisi (Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies) and Arika Ligmann-Zielinska (ESPP and Geography), also members of the CHANS hiring cluster, to see how her expertise fits into broader environmental modeling efforts at MSU.

Marquart-Pyatt said she "absolutely fell in love with the campus" on a visit to MSU, and she's excited about working at a school with a commitment to interdisciplinary work.

"I'd heard a lot about MSU as an institution, and about ESPP as a program," she said. "There are so many great things going on at MSU that I thought my research would fit in well, and would also benefit from it. I'm really looking forward to the collaborative opportunities."

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