I never thought I would get a PhD nor become a scientist. I always thought someone who spent years obsessing over a species, a case study, or interviews in “the field” was kind of weird. In deciphering my path, I think back to the photographs I took at 14 of the changing landscapes that surrounded me: roads cut through fields in my neighborhood or forests cleared. Even at that age, I asked hard questions. I wanted to understand the human history behind those changes. I remember feeling curious but also troubled by what I observed. Ever since then, I have been drawn to understanding and improving the complex relationships between humans and the natural world.
Over the past twenty years, the challenges between resource use and conservation directed me from one place on this planet to another. That early fascination with changing landscapes the human drivers of those changes led me to complete a dual-degree in Environmental Studies and Visual Art at Brown University. I completed much of my Visual Art training at the Rhode Island School of Design, focusing in documentary film and landscape photography. What I strived to understand intellectually, I documented visually. I bore witness to communities and landscapes transformed by oil and gas development in the Uintah Basin and confronted other changes, such as mining development in Alaska’s salmon-bearing watersheds. The social and ecological impacts I witnessed and the many challenges of sustainable resource management I confronted in various communities led me to the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, where I completed my PhD in 2015.
I became a scientist to go deeper—to develop the rigorous skills needed to address conservation issues in a rapidly changing world. I believe environmental problem-solving inherently requires rigorous interdisciplinary approach and defies all tradition of the academic discipline. I am both intrigued and concerned by the ways in which people are rapidly transforming the planet and the feedbacks those changes have on people.
My research contributes to improved resource management and conservation practices in a changing climate. I study ecological impacts of climate change and how people respond to those impacts through behavioral change or adaptations in resource management and conservation practice. I am an ecologist but I consider people to be a part of nature or any “system” I study. I cringe at being labeled a natural or a social scientist; I am some combination of the two. Humans and natural systems are inherently linked, and through this lens, I aspire to create a path towards greater sustainability.
I value publishing through the peer-review process for many good reasons, but I do not believe that act alone is enough. I never did. Listening and understanding people’s perspectives are equally important to me as analyzing and predicting ecological changes. Alongside my research, I have written for a broader audience through The New York Times. My work has been covered in many other media outlets such a radio, magazine, and blog. Motivated to share science and knowledge that can have a positive effect on human health and the environment, I have written in the Op-Ed format for the San Francisco Chronicle and worked as an associate producer on environmental documentary films. I strive to maintain a sense of compassion for the human condition and to bring heart and voice to the research I conduct without compromising the science. It is not just the science but also the engaging delivery of discovery that inspires change.
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00 (123) 456 78 90
00 (987) 654 32 10