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Engineering Cards

Michael Balen - Civil, Mining, and Geological Engineer

Michael Balen - Civil, Mining, and Geological Engineer
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Michael Balen - Civil, Mining, and Geological Engineer

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  • B.S. University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a Forest Service engineer, I manage the built environment, including the roads, bridges and facilities, that connect people to the national forest landscape and enable Forest Service employees to do their jobs.

Ms. Leslie J. Boak, Construction Engineer

Leslie Boak Construction Engineer
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Leslie Boak Construction Engineer

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  • B.S., Oregon State University 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A construction engineer is responsible for making sure all of the world's infrastructures (e.g. the roads you drive on, the buildings that you go to school in, the systems that supply the water you drink) are built safely and correctly.


Dr. Zhiyong Cai, Material Engineer

Zhiyong Cai, Material Engineer
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Zhiyong Cai, Material Engineer

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  • Ph.D., Purdue University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A material engineer develops new and improved composite materials by working with wood and other non-wood fiber sources. 

Dr. John Frank, Electronics Engineer

John Frank, Electronics Engineer
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John Frank, Electronics Engineer

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  • Ph.D., University of Wyoming
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • An electronics engineer in the Forest Service usees math, physics and computers to design circuits, write programs, and build instruments to answer questions about how our forests function.

Nora Gamino, Project Manager/Engineer

Nora Gamino, Project Manager/Engineer
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Nora Gamino, Project Manager/Engineer

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  • B.S., Virginia Tech
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a project manager and engineer, my job is to balance all the different aspects of construction projects.  That includes managing the budget, project timeline, engineers, designers, and users to ensure they all work together. 

Dr. J.M. Grace III, Biological and Agricultural Engineer

Dr. J.M. Grace III, Biological and Agricultural Engineer
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Dr. J.M. Grace III, Biological and Agricultural Engineer

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  • Ph.D., North Carolina State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a biological and agricultural engineer, I explore, design, and study interactions among all aspects of biological systems.

Laura Hasburgh, Fire Protection Engineer

Laura Hasburgh, Fire Protection Engineer
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Laura Hasburgh, Fire Protection Engineer

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  • Ph.D. (candidate), University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Fire protection engineers apply science and engineering principles to protect people, property, and their environments from the harmful and destructive effects of fire and smoke.  Specifically, I research the fire performance of wood and wood-based building materials to ensure that a building can be safely designed.

Ruby Johnson, Mining Engineer

Ruby Johnson, Mining Engineer
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Ruby Johnson, Mining Engineer

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  • B.S., Virginia Tech
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a mining engineer, I am responsible for mine design, safety, earth-moving equipment, calculations, and developing plans that are economical and time-efficient.  Mining engineers compile data from geology, hydrology, and other factors related to mine development and production.

Dr. Sara McAllister, Research Mechanical Engineer

Dr. Sara McAllister, Research Mechanical Engineer
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Dr. Sara McAllister, Research Mechanical Engineer

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  • Ph.D., University of California
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Mechanical engineering usually deals with things that move.  This includes automobiles and roller coasters, as well as manufacturing processes, such as fluids, heat, and fire.


Dr. Dana Mitchell, Research Engineer


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  • Ph.D., Auburn University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Engineers study many different areas.  My area is forest operations, or more simply put, logging management.


Dr. Bob Ross, Research Engineer


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  • Ph.D., Washington State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Research engineers work on problems in a variety of areas.  We work on everything from how a piece of material behaves when it is used to how to inspect historic artifacts.


Dr. Xiping Wang, Research Engineer


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  • Ph.D., Michigan Technological University 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A research engineer studies the wood quality of raw forest materials, such as trees, stems and logs.


Dr. Alex C. Wiedenhoeft, Wood Anatomist


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  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A wood anatomist studies the relationships between the structure of wood and its functions and properties in the living tree, in a 2X4, or in a piece of trace evidence from a crime scene.


Dr. Samuel L. Zelinka, Research Materials Engineer


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  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A materials engineer develops and improves materials that you use in your everyday life by understanding and altering the microstructures of materials.


Dr. JY Zhu, Research General Engineer


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  • Ph. D., University of California-Irvine 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a research general engineer, I study things such as chemical and biochemical engineering, wood and fiber science, and bioenergy.