Brian Thayer, MA
Senior Research Specialist
As a Senior Research Specialist, I am part of a three-person research team led by Dr. Amy Kalkbrenner. My primary research directive is performing epidemiological data analysis to investigate how environmental factors may influence developmental problems like autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Most of this analysis is conducted through the use of statistical and geographic information systems (GIS) software packages where I create variables, generate figures and construct GIS maps to communicate my results with the rest of the team.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography where I conducted geophysical research on the effects of coastal erosion in the Pacific Northwest. Later I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where I completed a Master of Arts program in Geography along with a Graduate Certificate in GIS from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning.
My professional background largely consists of two stints with different local government planning departments (in Wisconsin and North Carolina) where I served the role of a programmer/analyst in community development efforts and interactive web mapping application design. In between (and forming the basis for my graduate work), I spent 2 years helping several community-based organizations in Milwaukee get over some of the technological hurdles they faced in working with local data so they could better monitor and react to negative trends in their neighborhoods. In recent years, I've taught courses in world regional geography and geographic information science at Alverno College.