Semester in the Parks

Semester in the Parks Program Faculty and Staff

Dr. Bryan Burton Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Dr. Bryan Burton

Bryan Burton has a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine. He has been an assistant professor since 2015 in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at Southern Utah University. His specialization is in white-collar crime. Research interests include healthcare regulation in the United States and Sweden. Teaching interests include criminological theory, white-collar crime and classics in crime cinema. This is his second year teaching in the SIP program. His goal is to connect students to several law enforcement agencies and to educate them about employment opportunities within the National Parks. Bryan loves to play basketball, be in nature,travel and watch movies.


Dr. Kelly Goonan Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism

Dr. Kelly Goonan

Dr. Kelly Goonan is Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism at Southern Utah University. A self-described “hybrid recreation ecologist/recreation social scientist,” her expertise is in the management of outdoor recreation in parks and protected areas. She is passionate about providing students with opportunities for hands-on experiential learning and self-discovery in the outdoors.


Anne Smith Semester in the Parks Advisor, Outdoor Engagement Center Special Projects Coordinator, and Instructor of Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism

Anne Smith

With years of experience in outdoor recreation in higher education, Anne has always enjoyed working with students, faculty, staff and the public sharing her love of the natural world. She has worked extensively with public land partners, including the National Park Service, BLM, US Forest Service, Utah State Parks and Division of Wildlife. Anne is currently working on outdoor project development at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, including serving as the SUU Semester in the Parks Program Coordinator and SUU’s National Park Service Centennial Coordinator. She also serves as an instructor in the Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism (ORPT) Degree Program. Anne holds an M.A. degree from Brigham Young University in Recreation Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation, as well as licensure as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (TRS).


Daniel Swanson, MA Lecturer of Criminal Justice

Daniel Swanson

Daniel Swanson has a Bachelor’s degree in Political science and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.  He worked as a Police Officer for over 20 years in Las Vegas with the LVMPD. He is a Lecturer in Criminal Justice for the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. Daniel worked in both Corrections and Policing and after retiring, worked in the Salt Lake area as a reserve officer for over a year. Daniel was also involved in government service as an appointed wildlife commissioner for the state of Nevada where he worked alongside many federal agencies, as well as state and local departments. Daniel has always enjoyed the outdoors as an avid bass fisherman and fly-fishing enthusiast.


Laura Walker, MFA Lecturer of English

Laura Walker

Laura Walker is a Lecturer of English at Southern Utah University, where she teaches a variety of writing courses, including ENGL 2010: Writing about Humans in the Outdoors, as part of the Semester in the Parks curriculum. Originally from Southern California, she holds a Master of Education degree from University of California, Riverside, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She has taught composition and literature courses at several colleges and universities in California and Arizona. She loves reading, writing, and watching thunderstorms roll in. This is her second year at SUU.


Dr. Sam Wells Lecturer of Biology

Sam Wells

Dr. Sam Wells joined the SUU Biology faculty in 2015 as a lecturer. He is an expert on beetles and travels extensively (both locally and internationally) looking for curious and undescribed species. He can be found in southern Utah wilderness areas on any given day enjoying the beautiful and fascinating animals and plants that live here.


Semester in the Parks Staff

  • Anne Smith, Semester in the Parks Advisor
  • Kelly Goonan, Semester in the Parks Academic Coordinator
  • Kevin Koontz, Semester in the Parks Logistics Coordinator
  • Briget Eastep, Outdoor Engagement Center Director
  • Jan Neth, Outdoor Engagement Center Administrative Specialist