I began college with the plan to become a conservation biologist. Yet during a research trip to the Peruvian Amazon the summer after my freshman year, I discovered that my true interests lied in understanding the links between society and the environment. As a senior in college I participated in a yearlong course which culminated in the publication of a review paper on environmental change and infectious diseases. I wrote the section on schistosomiasis, a vector-borne disease transmitted in tropical rivers and lakes, and through exploring the literature I discovered that dam building can have important health and social impacts on surrounding communities.
This experience led me to Duke University, where I pursued a masters degree in environmental management and a certificate in global health. While at Duke I worked on multiple research projects related to malaria and conducted my masters fieldwork in rural Tanzania, where I examined knowledge and practices on the links between environmental conditions and malaria transmission. I then worked on public health research for two years at Resources for the Future, a DC-based think tank, before beginning a PhD program in sociology at Brown University. My dissertation research brought me back to one of my early interests—the social impacts of dam building—with a focus on the social processes underlying dam-induced forced migration. At Penn State, I continue to conduct policy-relevant research on the relationships between environmental change and the health and well-being of communities.
When I am not working, I enjoy cooking, yoga, biking, and listening to old records. While in grad school, I sang and played harmonica in the Providence-based blues, soul, and roots band Gin Mill Jane. You can check out our music here:
In addition, I love photography. Here are some photos from my fieldwork:
Vitória do Xingu, Brazil
Sloth on our motorcycle, Transamazon Highway, Brazil