Nancy earned a B.S. in Biology from The Pennsylvania State University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Forest Biology from the State University of New York-College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Georgia-Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in 1990, and then served as the Assistant Unit Leader for Wildlife with the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Assistant Research Professor at Texas Tech University from 1990-1995. Between her M.S. and Ph.D., she was a research biologist at EG&G, Energy Measurements in California, where she studied the impacts of oil and gas development on the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizards and giant kangaroo rats.
Nancy joined the Department of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995. Her research focuses on biodiversity conservation, endangered species management on private lands, white-tailed deer ecology, and environmental education in China. Nancy has worked closely with the International Crane Foundation at the Cao Hai Nature Reserve in Guizhou China for the past three years, where she has helped to establish an environmental education curriculum for K-12 students in Weining.
She is currently a professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison and the Director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 2010. Nancy has also been actively involved in higher education administration. Concurrent with her faculty appointments, she directed the ten year reaccreditation for the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2009 and served as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission from 2009-2012. Nancy was elected as a Trustee to the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association, in 2013.