Dr. Denise M. Yost

Administrator / Faculty

Denise M. Yost

Director, Graduate Certificate Programs and Extended Learning
Denise M. Yost
Director, Graduate Certificate Programs and Extended Learning
Center Administration


Dr. Denise Yost is a creative scholar, marine scientist, and leader committed to practicing innovative and interdisciplinary teaching, research, authentic leadership, and service. She is passionate about supporting positive trajectories of personal and professional development for students, faculty, individuals, and teams. Dr. Yost currently serves as the Director for Graduate Certificate Programs & Extended Learning and as an Associate Research Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). She is working to evolve the graduate student experience at UMCES through innovative programs and pathways for transformative experiences.

Dr. Yost’s scientific expertise spans the disciplines of marine biology, genetics, physiology, and biochemistry, with a specific focus on responses of reef-building corals to climate change and environmental stress. She has conducted coral field research in diverse locations around the world – American Samoa, Bermuda, Belize, French Polynesia (Moorea), Japan (Okinawa), and Taiwan. Dr. Yost is an expert in organismal production and physiological function of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and developed novel methodologies for quantitatively measuring DMSP changes in reef-building corals and dinoflagellate algae. She has also studied the genetic diversity of algal symbionts using advanced pyrosequencing approaches to further understand adaptation and evolution of coral symbioses.

Dr. Yost is an accomplished educator and has published on transformational learning and authentic leadership in undergraduate, graduate, and faculty instruction and training. During her career, she has enjoyed teaching undergraduate and graduate classes in marine ecology, life skills development and leadership training, and leading university-wide initiatives dedicated to student success, advancement of pedagogy and faculty development, and leadership succession training. As an academic leader, Dr. Yost has led innovative change as a researcher and faculty member, the Director for the Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership at Washington State University (WSU), chair for the WSU Senate Faculty Affairs committee, and invited speaker and facilitator for statewide initiatives. Most recently, Dr. Yost served as co-Principal Investigator and faculty development lead on the university-wide Transformational Change Initiative at WSU, a five-year grant focused on students’ academic success, excellence in instruction, and student mentoring. Currently, she is a co-Principal Investigator on a northwest regional NSF ADVANCE grant focused on advancement of women in STEMM where she continues to advance equity and policy change. In addition to her academic interests and pursuits, Dr. Yost is a skilled facilitator and coach who delivers transformative learning experiences and trainings to diverse audiences within and beyond the university setting. A mindful leader, she has a continued interest in mindfulness applications, has taught mindfulness to student athletes, and is regularly engaged in speaking and facilitation events in the greater community. Dr. Yost continues to demonstrate that her best work is accomplished through living an integrated and inspired life.

Areas of Expertise

  • Coral Biology & Physiology, Thermal Stress Response, Transformational Learning & Leadership, Academic Affairs Advancements


  • Ph. D. University of Maryland (Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Science)
  • M.S. Washington State University (Zoology)
  • B.S. Washington State University (Wildlife Science)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Hawai'i (Coral Reef Science)