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About us

The 3 Sigma Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Corvallis, OR.

Board of Directors

Colette Barron, J.D

Greta Boye, MBA

Ralph Garono, Ph.D.

David Hackleman, Ph.D.



Ralph Garono, Ph.D., Director

Email: ralph_garono at 3sigmainstitute.org
Phone: 541.757.7896

Dr. Ralph Garono is President of Earth Design Consultants, Inc. (Corvallis, OR) where he heads up the Wetland & Watershed Assessment Group. In addition, Dr. Garono holds a faculty (courtesy) appointment in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University and advises graduate students in the Marine Resource Management Program. He is trained in biochemical limnology (e.g., the role that phosphorus limitation plays in structuring planktonic communities) and in aquatic entomology. His current research interests focus on assessments, at multiple spatial and temporal scales, of aquatic and marine ecosystems. His recent research projects include: the use of aquatic insects as a wetland assessment tool; GIS-based watershed assessments; the use of GIS-based models to evaluate alternative land use scenarios; and, the use of hyperspectral imagery to map landscape patterns in estuarine vegetation.


Liz Allen, Ph.D., Collaborative Modeling Project Leader

Email: liz_allen at 3sigmainstitute.org

Liz is the collaborative modeling project leader at the 3 Sigma Institute. She also ?conducts evaluation research for educational programs and environmental science research initiatives. Liz has worked with? ??regional climate change impacts modeling teams to ??coordinate stakeholder? engagement and facilitate workshops to incorporate diverse expertise into research efforts. She uses interviews, surveys and qualitative research approaches to design and support effective scientist-stakeholder partnerships. Her dissertation ?at Washington State University focused on ?challenges and opportunities for interdisciplinary environmental models and ?the ?role of climate impacts modeling in natural resource management ?decision?-?making. She is interested in using collaborative system dynamics modeling to facilitate dialogue and span boundaries between different ways of understanding complex environmental, economic and social cha?nges. Liz holds a B.S. in Biology and Anthropology from the University of Oregon, a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University in Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Washington State University.



Beth Gienger, Assistant Director of Teacher Education

Beth Gienger is the Assistant Director of Teacher Education at the 3 Sigma Institue.  She has both a bachelors and a masters in Science Education from Oregon State University. For the past 30 years, she has been teaching high school science on the Oregon coast. Her students have been involved in a variety of local research projects, including water quality sampling of the local watershed and assessing aquatic insect communities along salmon streams. Her students are involved in spawining both salmon and steelhead at the local hatchery as well as studying invertebrates within the local mudflats and rocky intertidal areas. She has taught biology, oceanography, environmental science and AP Biology over the course of her career.  She is the winningest coach of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl competiton at the Salmon Bowl hosted by Oregon State University and has advanced to the national competition for 11 of the 17 years the competition has been in existence.  



Becky Hill, M.S.

Becky Hill grew up in the soggy Willamette Valley of Oregon where she developed a deep appreciation and giddy enthusiasm for amphibians and wetland ecosystems. She received a B.S. in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Zoology, and a M.S. in Environmental Sciences with an aquatic ecology emphasis from Oregon State University. 

Nine years as a wildlife biologist have allowed her to sharpen skills as an amphibian ecologist, while also gaining professional experience in the following areas: wetland delineation and habitat restoration, plant and animal aquatic invasive species, survey for a wide variety of taxa ranging from zooplankton to beetles and Washington ground squirrels to sea lions, laboratory experiments with fungal pathogens, and teaching environmental education.

In addition to field work, Becky has served as a project manager, field coordinator, task lead, and liaison between stakeholders (agency, tribal, private landowners). She has also been a technical editor and author for state and federal (NEPA) permits and technical reports.

In her free time, Becky enjoys snowboarding, boating, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, and home improvement projects.




Affiliated Scientists


Dr. Ayesha Gray specializes in assessment and monitoring of restored landscapes and estuarine ecosystems. Her research focuses on recovering functioning habitat for juvenile salmonids and other fish, and monitoring ecosystem response to restoration actions, such as dike breaching, tidal channel development, culvert removal/replacement, reclamation and hydrological changes. She has experience in the evaluation and design of many restoration projects on the West Coast. Examples include projects to add large woody debris to streams and estuaries and monitor biological response, reclaim and restore lands and aquatic habitats subjected to mining and dredging, recover side channel connections on river floodplain wetlands, and rehabilitate tidal channel recovery in estuarine marshes subjected to diking and dike removal. Dr. Gray has used juvenile fish growth potential generated from field data and a bioenergetics models, and macroinvertebrate assemblages, as tools to assess habitat function. She has worked with community-driven restoration planning to develop comprehensive watershed restoration plans and monitoring programs. She has also used monitoring data to address early life history questions about Chinook salmon populations.

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Dr. Shon Schooler is a research scientist at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). He has conducted research on the ecology and management of invasive organisms for over 17 years with a focus on sustainable management and the reduction of pesticides using integerated managment and biological control. He has published over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and given over 50 public presentations on the subject. His goal is to use ecological knowledge, public outreach, and adaptive managment to create self-sustaining control strategies for invasive organisms.   


Dr. Alice Yeates is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Queensland, Australia. She has published five peer reviewed journal articles and given over ten public presentations at venues ranging from local community groups to international conferences. She has worked on a diversity of ecological systems over the past 10 years and is interested in integrating theoretical ecology with invasive species management and understanding. Current research focuses on 1) integrating plant community response to invasive species removal into management practices in order to maximize the health of the community as well as the successful removal of the target species and; 2) using biological control to understand the mechanisms behind introduced species success and failure. 




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For more information about 3 Sigma Institute, please contact Ralph Garono.
3 Sigma Institute | P.O. Box 2421 | Corvallis, Oregon 97339
Website last modified: January 5, 2016