Land & Environment

USU Blanding Faculty Member Named QCNR Teacher of the Year

By Marcus Jensen |

Gustavo Ovando-Montejo

BLANDING, Utah — Gustavo Ovando-Montejo, assistant professor in the Environment and Society Department at Utah State University, has been named as the 2024 Quinney College of Natural Resources Teacher of the Year. Ovando-Montejo, who teaches environmental studies and geography courses at USU Blanding, will be the college’s nominee for the 2024 Eldon J. Gardner Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in March.

“Since joining USU Blanding, professor Ovando-Montejo has made an immediate and profound impact,” said Kristian Olsen, senior associate vice president for USU Blanding & Moab. “His unwavering passion, dedication, and enthusiasm for fostering student success exemplify the qualities of an outstanding educator. Professor Ovando-Montejo's presence on campus has enriched both the academic environment and the broader community. His commitment to excellence in teaching and mentorship is truly commendable.”

Born in the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, now known as Mexico City, Ovando-Montejo was raised in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. At age 18, he moved to Utah to attend Brigham Young University. While studying at BYU, he developed an appreciation for maps and the map-making process, leading him to major in geography. This passion led him to earn a bachelor’s degree in geographic information systems from BYU and a master’s and a doctorate in geography from Oklahoma State University.

“I am incredibly honored and grateful to have been selected for this award,” Ovando-Montejo said. “It is humbling to be recognized among the many exceptional teachers at our institution.”

Ovando-Montejo joined the USU faculty in 2019, first as a post-doctoral fellow and then as an assistant professor in 2020. His teaching and research interests deal in general with human-environmental systems and natural resource management including the integration of GIS and remote sensing techniques for application on these areas.

Offering residential campus housing and dining, Utah State University Blanding gives students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university, all while providing award-winning education. With degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees, plus technical education offerings in Business, Technical Trades and Health Professions, USU Blanding offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


Kristian Olsen
Senior Associate Vice President
Utah State University Blanding & Moab


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