Dr. Klasic is an interdisciplinary environmental geographer and Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota working on urban nature, policy advocacy, and civic engagement as part of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at the Twin Cities site. Dr. Klasic received her Ph.D. in Geography in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy with a designated emphasis in Computational Social Science at the University of California, Davis in 2021 where she studied with leading environmental governance and policy scholars, Drs. Mark Lubell, Gwen Arnold, and Abigail York (Arizona State University). At the University of Minnesota, Dr. Klasic works with expert scholars, Drs. Kristen Nelson and Forrest Fleischman, on policy advocacy, justice, and urban nature.

Dr. Klasic’s research broadly focuses on drivers of environmental policy advocacy and change. She uses these lenses to study a range of environmental governance challenges using quantitative and qualitative methods like (social)-ecological network analysis, text analysis, interviews, surveys, and statistical modeling. Dr. Klasic brings 10 years of applied policy experience working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and she has an extensive network of collaborators, working with more than 25 scholars across nine universities and disciplines including Political Science, Environmental Science, Hydrology, Geography, Sociology, and Women and Gender Studies.

Dr. Klasic’s current research portfolio includes work on the following:

1. California drinking water (quantity and quality), drought and extreme events, and climate change adaptation with Dr. Julie Ekstrom (California Department of Water Resources), Dr. Amanda Fencl (Union of Concerned Scientists), Dr. Louise Bedworth (Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment, UC Berkeley), and Dr. Zeke Baker (Sonoma State University).

2. Civic engagement, environmental justice, institutional change, and urban nature with Dr. Kristen Nelson (University of Minnesota), Dr. Forrest Fleischman (University of Minnesota), and Dr. Kelli Larson (Arizona State University). Dr. Klasic is also working with governance and justice scholars across the National LTER network to develop an agenda on how to integrate community-based co-produced research into the LTER and other interdisciplinary work.

3. Unconventional oil and gas drilling (fracking) in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania with Dr. Gwen Arnold (UC Davis), Dr. Madeline Schomburg (Energy Futures Initiative), and Dr. Abby York (Arizona State University)

4. Lake Erie harmful algal blooms with Dr. Rachel Lamb (Maryland Department of Environment Climate Change), Dr. Kelsey Leonard (Waterloo University), and Dr. Vanessa Vargas (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences). This work is supported by a SESYNC Graduate Student Pursuit proposal that Dr. Klasic wrote and Co-PI’d with Dr. Rachel Lamb.

In addition to this core set of research, Dr. Klasic collaborates on:

1. Sustainability both at a professional level and as a pedagogical approach. 

-> Change agency, knowledge transmission, and immersive service-learning with Dr. Catherine Brinkley (UC Davis). Dr. Klasic served as the Onsite Coordinator for UC Davis’ Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe (SCONE) summer study abroad program in 2018 and 2019

-> The next generation of sustainable cities with Dr. Suad Joseph (UC Davis), Dr. Bryan Jenkins (UC Davis), Dr. Stephen Wheeler (UC Davis), and Bernadette Austin (Center for Regional Change). Dr. Klasic planned, coordinated, and led a conference that brought academia, industry, policy, and nonprofits together to discuss how to move the sustainability agenda forward

2. Mapping the production of knowledge on women and gender in the Arab region with Dr. Suad Joseph (UC Davis), Dr. Nawary Golley (American University of Sharjah), Dr. Martina Riker (The American University in Cairo), Dr. Lena Meari (Birzeit University), Dr. Zina Sawaf (Lebanese American University), and Dr. Sara Mourad (American University of Beirut)

Prior to pursuing my Ph.D., I spent 10 years as a Policy Analyst working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water on:

1. Drinking water operator certification and capacity development

2. Communications and outreach relating to key EPA internet tools for watershed management

3. Implementing the Clean Water Act, Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Program

Education History

  • B.S. Environmental Science [Focus: Aquatics], Dickinson College
  • M.S. Environmental Planning and Management, Johns Hopkins University
  • Ph.D. Geography [DE Computational Social Science], University of California, Davis

Work Experience

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Minnesota


Klasic, M., Fencl, A., Ekstrom, J., and A. Ford. 2022. “Adapting to extreme events: Small drinking water system manager perspectives on the 2012-2016 California Drought.” Climatic Change 170(26).

Klasic, M., Gottlieb Schomburg, M., Arnold, G., York, A., Baum, M., Cherin, M., Cliff, S., Kavousi, P., Jordan, A., Miller, T., Shajari, D., Wang, Y., and L. Zialcita. “A review of community impacts of boom-bust cycles in unconventional oil and gas development.” Energy Research and Social Science.

Arnold, G., Klasic, M., Gottlieb Schomburg, M., and York, A, Baum, M., Cherin, M., Cliff, S., Kavousi, P., Miller, T., Jordan, A., Shajari, D., Wang, Y., and L. Zialcita. 2022. “Boom, Bust,
Action! How communities can cope with boom-bust cycles in unconventional oil and gas development.” Review of Policy Research 39(541–69).

Klasic, M. and Lubell, M. 2020. “Collaborative governance: from simple partnerships to complex systems.” Handbook of US Environmental Policy, edited by David Konisky. Elgar Publishing.

Ekstrom, J., Klasic, M., Fencl, A., Lubell, M., Baker, E., and Einterz, F. 2018. “Drought management and climate adaptation of small, self-sufficient drinking water systems in California.” California’s 4th Climate Assessment.

Honors and Awards

  • Dissertation Writing Block Grant, UC Davis (2021)
  • UC Davis Geography Internal Fellowship (2020)
  • Nominee, Teaching Award for Public Lands Management (2020)
  • Public Scholarship and Engagement Award, UC Davis (2020)
  • Geography Fellowship, UC Davis (2020)
  • Selected to Participate in UC Davis Professors for the Future Program (2019)
  • Inducted into Nu Iota Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geography Honor Society (2019)
  • UC Davis Geography Internal Fellowship (2019)
  • International Association of Great Lakes Graduate Fellowship (2019)
  • Inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (top 10% of Graduate Students) (2018)
  • CUAHSI Pathfinder Fellowship (2018)
  • Henry A. Jastro Research Award for Geography (2018)
  • Co-PI of Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) Graduate Student Pursuit, “Moving beyond random acts of restoration to robust adaptive resilience” (2017)
  • Henry A. Jastro Research Award for Geography (2017)
  • Bronze Medal, Clean Water Act Section 319 Programmatic Guidelines, U.S. EPA (2014)
  • Bronze Medal, Asset Management and Capacity Building, U.S. EPA (2011)

Professional Organizations

Association of American Geographers
International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGRL)
Association of American Geographers- Human Dimensions of Global Change
Midwest Political Science Association
International Association of Society and Natural Resources
National Science Foundation