Sunshine Brosi

PhD and Assistant Professor, Ethnobotany, Wildlife and Fisheries

"Coming to Warren Wilson was the best decision of my life.  I was able to find my passion, learn the value of hard-work, and become dedicated to saving the environment. I use the skills I learned at Warren Wilson daily and these skills have made me an effective manager, a dedicated leader, and knowledgeable about my passion for saving the environment.  The Triad of academics, work and service at Warren Wilson prepared me to succeed in graduate school.  My professors at Warren Wilson were engaging, knowledgeable, thought-provoking, and passionate about each individual student. These are traits that I hope to achieve as a teacher." 
--Sunshine L. Brosi, PhD

Dr. Sunshine L. Brosi '99 is an assistant professor of Biology at Frostburg State University in western Maryland. She coordinates and teaches courses within the undergraduate Ethnobotany major; one of only two programs in the United States. Sunshine also coordinates the undergraduate Wildlife and Fisheries and Interpretative Biology and Natural History Programs and supervises graduate students in the Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology Program. Sunshine teaches Introduction to Ethnobotany, Economic Botany, Ethnographic Field Techniques, and Field Experiences in Ethnobotany and Ecology. She also teach Plant Taxonomy, Dendrology, Research Methods in the Biological Sciences, and Forestry Field Practices.

Sunshine works actively with the Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies, ACES, on researching the great diversity of plants in the Appalachian region of medicinal or edible value. Sunshine’s research emphasis is in conservation biology and forest ecology, particularly in preserving ecological and cultural keystone species. She has worked with a number of species threatened by exotic forest pests including American chestnut and butternut. Sunshine is from Berea, KY and received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC (1999). She earned a Master’s of Science in Forestry from The University of Kentucky where she studied American chestnut restoration on surface mines and timber harvest areas with a focus on artificial regeneration (2001). She received a PhD in Natural Resources from The University of Tennessee (2010). Her research focused on butternut including endroecology, molecular biology, and restoration protocols for species at risk due to exotic pathogens.

Her first semester at Warren Wilson, Sunshine took Forest Ecology and decided that she would like to teach Forest Ecology one day. Twelve years later she was teaching her passion at a small school in rural Appalachia. While at Warren Wilson, Sunshine was the student leader of the Forestry Crew and worked as a wildland firefighter with the North Carolina Forest Service. She completed two internships with the Environmental Leadership Center. She had an internship with the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (1997). As a laboratory researcher she completed her senior research project focusing on ecophysiology and hydraulic architecture in oak and maple species. The following summer Sunshine worked as a field researcher with The Nature Conservancy, North Carolina Chapter, Asheville, NC (1998). She worked on the impact of an invasive exotic vine, Oriental bittersweet, on herbaceous layer diversity at Biltmore Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest, and Bent Creek Experimental Forest. The ELC internships were beneficial to allow Sunshine to complete hands-on projects and prepare her for graduate school. The internships also allowed Sunshine to determine the types of research that she was passionate about and assist in her future career direction.

Sunshine lives in rural Garrett County, Maryland with her daughter, Summer (9), stepson, Caeman (15), and husband Dan Feller. She enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, and canoeing. She is interested in highly-motivated potential graduate students who are dedicated to conservation biology.