Virginia Tech®home

Faculty & Research

Our faculty are researching what matters

Wherever there are big, sticky problems that involve natural resources and the environment, you’ll find CNRE faculty. We’re bringing all our disciplines to bear in order to understand the challenges we face and pave the way for practical solutions to preserve our resources and build capacity for the future.

Daniel McLaughlin

And they are world-renowned experts in their fields

Our faculty are observers at world climate talks, winners of National Science Foundation grants, and pioneering women in STEM. They are saving mussels in our streams, sending drones into our skies, and putting their boots on the ground in Bangladesh and Botswana.

They are scholars, researchers, innovators, and change agents. They are leaders who take on the problems of the world and look for solutions, and then teach those who will follow them to ensure that their work will continue.

They are the world’s experts and they are right here at Virginia Tech.

Three young adults sit at a picnic table under a pavilion, with several flowers and papers on the table between them. Carolyn Copenheaver leans over them, pointing out a particular flower.

Professor Carolyn Copenheaver, who teaches forest ecology, is leading a charge to address sexual misconduct in outdoor field experiences and lab courses. Copenheaver has become an outspoken resource for helping other faculty address and prevent sexual harassment in programs that utilize the outdoors as a classroom. She is continually working to foster a learning environment where students feel comfortable and are willing to voice their concerns.

CNRE faculty build strong partnerships through research centers

Both the College of Natural Resources and Environment and Virginia Tech are home to a variety of centers and institutes that serve as productive mediums for establishing research relationships and germinating impactful ideas. Through these collaborative ventures and venues, CNRE faculty are tackling regional and global challenges in sustainability, geospatial technology, conservation, packaging, coastal studies, water, and more.

An expert in bioplastics, smart packaging, biosensors, and the minute structure of packaging materials, Associate Professor Young-Teck Kim is the future of packaging. Kim’s research focuses on developing new packaging materials and hybrid plastics that will improve food transportation and safety and provide an alternative to disposable plastic bags.