Interdisciplinary Research & Teaching

Environmental change is dynamic, yet - coupled with major shifts in socio-political and economic processes - these changes create complex problems that cannot be addressed by scholars in one discipline alone. Such complexity creates opportunity for improved decision-making strategies, including communicating and collaborating across disciplines. The NSF-IGERT Fellowship (Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) enabled me to collaborate with biologists, ecologists, economists, and sociologists from Day 1 of my doctoral program at the University of Idaho. We integrated our disciplinary perspectives to design and implement applied research projects. Read more about my work with The Sagebrush Team and our contributions to scholarship and to public lands management in the Western United States. 

Disciplinary Foundations

My disciplinary research interests involve democratic processes and decision-making for public lands and natural resource management. Collaborative and adaptive natural resource management contexts provide opportunities to analyze conversations among participants representing diverse points of view. Using interview and workshop methods, I import communicative action theory and employ qualitative analytical techniques to explain how these planning and decision-making settings enable or interrupt participants' learning about the issue and about each other (social learning). Litigation is another institutional process in public lands contexts, and I work to describe its positive and negative influence on human well-being at individual and community scales.   

Community Service & Engagement

At home, I volunteer with the Miami University Natural Areas as Curator for Silvoor Biological Sanctuary. This 5 acre wildflower preserve comprises a mosaic of university and private land ownership, requiring a unique approach to collaborative management. Active projects include invasive Amur honeysuckle removal and educational programming. A Silvoor Stories blog is coming soon!

Some say sagebrush smells like mint; others say it smells lik turpentine!
The UI Sagebrush Team takes a closer look at cheatgrass invading the Owyhees, Summer 2011
Fall in Silvoor Biological Sanctuary



Social-Ecological Systems

Ecosystem Services, Social System Services & Human Well-Being

2011 - 2015

University of Idaho

Ph.D. Environmental Science

Natural Resource Management

Litigation, Deliberation & Collaboration

Social Learning

Testimony & Trust

Epistemic diversity for conservation planning

2009 - 2011

Texas A&M University

M.S. Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences

2003 - 2007

Texas A&M University

B.A. Communication