LMU Affiliates

Kristen Covino, Ph.D., Faculty Affiliate

LMU Biology


Dr. Kristen Covino is an avian biologist who integrates multiple fields to explain the complex interactions between an individual’s environment and their physiology. Dr. Covino’s research encompasses many scales of inquiry, ranging from avian physiology to continental-scale migratory movements, and seeks to understand the movement biology and whole life cycle biology of migratory birds. Her interest in birds started as an undergraduate when she took ornithology and conducted research while earning her B.Sc. in Biology (2004) from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, where she also grew up. After a year of field work and research, Dr. Covino began her Master’s research at the University of Maine-Orono where she studied migratory decisions of songbirds on stopover. In 2011, Dr. Covino began as a doctoral student in the Migratory Bird Research Group at the University of Southern Mississippi under the direction of Dr. Frank Moore. Her dissertation work investigated breeding development in several inter-continental migrants en route to their breeding grounds and demonstrated that the phenology of physiological breeding development in these species is sex-specific for which she received her Ph.D. in 2016. Dr. Covino conducts research in collaboration with the Appledore Island Migration Station in Maine and with the Shoals Marine Laboratory where she teaches a summer Field Ornithology course. Some of Dr. Covino’s currently research projects include studying the hormone-behavior relationship in breeding Great Black-backed Gulls, using feather hydrogen isotope ratios to model population-level migratory movements in songbirds, and a series of hormone-related questions in various songbird species as part of a collaboration with the Islands High School Scientific Research Program.

Dr. Covino is also interested in addressing issues related to making ornithology and undergraduate research more accessible to women and the LGBT community, as well as promoting undergraduate participation in research. Dr. Covino is the co-chair of the student and young professional committee of the Wilson Ornithological Society and a member of the Early Professional Committee of the American Ornithology Society.

John H. Dorsey, Ph.D., Senior Faculty Fellow

LMU Civil Engineering & Environmental Science


John Dorsey received his B.S. in Marine Biology (1972) and M.S. in Biology (1975) from California State University, Long Beach, then traveled to Australia where he received his doctorate from the University of Melbourne in Zoology (1982). Presently he is retired as an Emeritus Professor at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and with the Environmental Science program. Prior to retirement he taught courses in environmental, atmospheric, and marine sciences.  Prior to LMU, he worked as a marine biologist for the City of Los Angeles (1983-2002), focusing on marine monitoring in Santa Monica Bay and storm water management. John sits on numerous local and state technical committees dealing with water quality issues and policy. His research interests have focused on the dynamics of fecal indicator bacteria in coastal waters and wetlands.  Presently he is a Fellow with LMU’s Coastal Research Institute (CRI) where he is working to characterize sandy beaches in Santa Monica Bay to site Living Shoreline projects to restore and build sand dune to help mitigate rising sea levels. John's passion for good water quality is natural — he is an avid surfer, so many mornings he can be found at dawn surfing at El Porto near his home and LMU's campus.

John works with CURes on several projects.  His recent focus is on a project commissioned by the Ballona Freshwater Conservancy to understand the ecological and water quality dynamics of the Ballona Freshwater marsh system.  As a member of the Academic Science Advisory Committee, he has helped devise and conduct monitoring surveys in the marsh, assessed data on mosquito densities, and worked with CURes staff and committee members to provide science-based recommendations to the Conservancy for marsh management to control mosquito populations while maintaining good biodiversity.  Beginning 2023, CURes will work with The Bay Foundation and CRI on expansion of the Sandy Beach Characterization project on which John has been a lead investigator.  He will work with CURes staff to acquire how human activities have impacted various habitats and biodiversity along the Bay’s sandy shoreline.

Jess Sunio, Graduate Student Research Assistant

LMU Office of Student Conduct & Community Responsibility


Jess is a graduate student in LMU’s Counseling Program and works in the Office of Student Conduct & Community Responsibility. She joined the CURes Restorative Justice Project to gain research experience but is most excited about learning restorative practices and gaining the tools to impact systemic education reform. In her spare time, she volunteers with Recovery@LMU as a facilitator and hosts wellness meetings with LMU’s Women’s Soccer Program. Jess has hopes of pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and using her experience as an athlete and administrator in the sports industry to continue the reform of coaching education.


Non-LMU Affiliates

Shenyue Jia, PhD

Visiting Scholar, Institute for Earth, Computing, Human and Observing (ECHO), Chapman University


Dr. Shenyue Jia is currently a visiting scholar at Institute for Earth, Computing, Human and Observing (ECHO), Chapman University. She also serves as the data scientist for CrisisReady, a joint program between Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Direct Relief on disaster response. Dr. Jia got her Ph.D. from UCLA Geography in 2017. Trained as a GIS and remote sensing specialist, Dr. Jia is enthusiastic about solving real-world problems with geospatial tools. Her most recent work includes improving the response to natural disasters and humanitarian crises in terms of data, method, and translational readiness.

Dr. Jia has recently worked with CURes and TreePeople to develop the Los Angeles County Tree Canopy Map Viewer and has been actively involved in the community-based tree canopy prioritization projects in Southeast LA County. She is also working with CURes and Annenberg Petspace on an interactive mapping tool for domestic animal welfare.