Our Team


R. Brent Yantis

Principal Investigator

Brent Yantis is the Director of the NASA/UL Lafayette Regional Application Center located in the Research Park of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture: Landscape Ecology/GIS and Remote Sensing from Louisiana State University. He worked in Environmental Consulting for 6 years, the USDA NRCS for 10 years, the Louisiana National Guard for 2 years and 25 years teaching and research.  He is currently a member and current Board Chair of the National AmericaView program; Director of LouisianaView; State GeoSpatial Contractor to the Louisiana Army National Guard: a member of LaURISA and a project manager for the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters.  He wrote the curriculum for teaching GIS / Remote Sensing classes at UL Lafayette and has taught for over 25 years.  UL Lafayette now offers the state’s first Certification Program for Undergraduate education in GIS and Remote Sensing.


Dr. Rebecca Dodge

Dr. Dodge spent fourteen years in the oil exploration business, applying remote sensing technology for both international exploration and environmental purposes.   As a professor, she has been researching and teaching the uses of satellite imagery for resource and environmental management applications for the past 26 years. She became actively involved in STEM outreach for recruiting students into science majors while teaching at Midwestern State University. In addition, she is deeply committed to training and educating future science teachers in geosciences, earth system science, and environmental observation techniques, with an emphasis on the integration of field observations and geospatial technology.


Dr. Heather N. Stone

Dr. Stone is an educator who seeks out stories that need to be told. Her work takes her beyond the classroom and into communities facing disruptive environmental change. Stone’s work helps people in these communities explain how they are adjusting and what their journey to resilience looks like. Together, they integrate oral histories and virtual reality to create one-of-a-kind stories, curated by the people who live them. When Stone shares these stories with students, local officials, and policy makers, they all learn more about what it means to sustain vibrant lives on a changing planet.


Dr. Jennifer Hargrave

Dr. Hargrave is a Senior Instructor for the School of Geosciences at UL and the Associate Curator of the UL Geology Museum. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in geology with a focus in vertebrate paleontology. After graduation, she spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher at Syracuse University, studying lake carbonates on Lake Turkana, Kenya. Dr. Hargrave has traveled to every continent, conducting research in North America, Antarctica, Australia, and Africa. Dr. Hargrave’s current research includes the numerous Pleistocene fossil birds from Fossil Lake, Oregon.


Kathleen S. Espinoza

Kathleen is a Master Instructor of Geography at UL Lafayette. Some of her favorite courses to teach are the geographies of Louisiana and Lafayette with a focus on how students engage in their own local geography.  In an effort to bring the experience of regional geography to her students, Kathleen worked to organize GeoTours, a program for students enrolled in geography classes that has included tours on the Vermilion River, the Old River Control Structure on the Mississippi River, and a working sugar mill in St. Martin Parish. Kathleen is an active member of her community where she serves on several boards that work to preserve local history and support public education.


Courtney A. Poirier

Courtney is a PhD student and graduate research assistant at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette within the Regional Application Center. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Environmental Quality and a Master’s degree in Environmental Resource Science. She is pursuing a doctoral degree in the Earth and Energy Sciences Program with a specification in geosciences. Her research interests focus on climate change, ecohydrology, watershed management, geoscience education, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


Corey Dilley

Hello, my name is Corey Dilley. In 2019 I graduated from Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) with an Associate’s degree in General Science.  After graduating from BRCC I decided to continue my education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Geology with a concentration in Environmental Geology in 2021.  Currently, I am seeking a Master’s degree in Geology at ULL and working as a Graduate Research Assistant with a team labeled GEOSERVICE (Geoscience Students Excelling in Real, Vital Investigations with Community Engagement).


Ethan Trahan

Hello! I am Ethan Trahan and I am a senior studying in Environmental Science with a concentration in Soil and Water Conservation. I grew up in Breaux Bridge, LA and went to Teurlings Catholic High School. I have a passion for the environment, especially for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Studying environmental science has allowed me to learn about all aspects of our environment, especially combating erosion. In using remotely sensed imagery, this has allowed myself to visually see these erosion changes over time, which has boosted my interest in this field. I believe this will be a major tool for the future of environmental science.


Kimberly Thompson

Hi! My name is Kimberly Thompson and I am a senior studying Environmental Science with a concentration in Soil and Water Conservation. I am also getting a minor in Geology and my Geographic Information Science Certification. I am from Jena, LA, a small town north of Alexandria. In my hometown there is not much to do indoors so you have to stick to outdoor activities. I enjoy fishing, hiking, and taking in nature as it is. With my degree, I plan to go into mapping erosion and educating the public on what is happening with all coastlines around the United States. Louisiana is a good place to start, though, because of the amount of erosion that is happening specifically around our coastline.


Hayden Smith

Hello, my name is Hayden Smith. I’m a sophomore that is graduating in 2025. My major is environmental sciences with a concentration on environmental quality. My home town is Houston Texas, the H-town, and I used to live in Lafayette when I was 7 years old. I love hunting and fishing and that’s how I chose my major. I used to play football and baseball until I had a freak accident and broke my face. I’m currently in Chi Alpha, a campus ministry, and have been going there since I started school. I can’t wait to meet all of ya’ll at the workshop this year and I hope that y’all will join us at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Go Cajuns!