Dr. Klasic is an interdisciplinary environmental geographer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division. Dr. Klasic is also a faculty member at the University of Minnesota associated with 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.

Dr. Klasic’s research broadly focuses on designing equitable governance systems that effectively adapt to climate changr. She uses a social-ecological lens 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. Prior to receiving her PhD, Dr. Klasic spent 10 years designing and implementing policy under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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

1. Social-ecological revitalization of Great Lakes Areas of Concern

2. Social indicators of environmental restoration

3. Civic engagement, environmental justice, advocacy, urban nature

4. Climate adaptation, drinking water, and extreme events

5. Policy entrepreneurship and local policy adoption related to unconventional oil and gas drilling

6. Harmful algal bloom governance structure, needs, and priorities 

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).

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

Research Scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Arnold, G., Klasic, M., Wu, C., Schomburg, M., and A. York. “ Finding, distinguishing, and understanding overlooked policy entrepreneurs.” Policy Sciences 1-31.

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