University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment

Meghan D. Hutchins

Meghan Hutchins

resume: download resume [pdf] »

I am currently a graduate student in the School of Natural Resources and Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. My focus is on agent-based modeling (ABM) of human-natural systems. I primarily use Java and Repast Simphony to develop ABMs for research.

In addition to graduate studies, I also work as a caretaker at the Nichols Arboretum. Caretakers act as the "eyes and ears" of the arboretum, lead volunteer workdays, remove invasive species, and assist with the overall care and maintence of the arboretum.

Previously, I worked for six years as a Java-based web application developer for the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. This was my first "real" job after graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.

Current Projects

  • Exploratory Land Management and Carbon Storage (ELMST)

    This thesis offers a unique perspective of human-dominated landscapes in the United States. Specifically it provides an exploration into how social influence in a residential subdivision affects the carbon is stored within the subdivision over time. With just a slight nudge, the power of social influence may be used to alter a given landscape from a carbon source to a carbon sink, while also providing a multitude of other ecosystem services. Small, positive changes in just a few yard management behaviors may begin a cascade event through the subdivision, allowing this a behavior to disseminate through the individual yards, creating a new local norm and affecting the amount of carbon stored at the subdivision level. An agent-based model is being developed to explore this topic.

  • Project SLUCEII

    Working with a team of researchers to develop an agent-based model to estimate patterns of land-use change, socio-ecological impacts, and effects on carbon storage in exurban residential areas. sluceII website »

  • Childhood Obesity and Social Networks

    Working with a team of researchers to investigate social networking effects on childhood obesity. An agent-based network model has been developed to explore this topic.

Previous Projects

  • Neighborhood Effects on Land Management (February 2009 - April 2009)

    My very first ABM and term project for an agent-based modeling class. The focus of this model is on lawn mowing strategies in relation to resident preferences, neighborhood effects and policy outcomes within a conventional neighborhood. Interesting spatial patterns and biomass trajectories result from such complex human-natural interactions. download paper »

Twitter Updates

    follow me on twitter...