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PhD, Dual-title, Geography and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

The Pennsylvania State University


MS Geography

Portland State University


BS Business Management

Oregon Institute of Technology


My research agenda centers on rural communities' adaptive response to environmental change with a focus on agricultural and coastal livelihoods. I center the role of multi-scalar power dynamics and social difference in understanding adaptive choices among rural communities.

My current research, in partnership with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, examines agriculturalists' adaptive soil management decisions in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The study also examines the knowledge sources that agriculturalists draw on in making those decisions, and how climate models and data can better reflect farmer knowledge and better meet their needs. Methods employed include interviews, participatory mapping, focus groups, and modeling with the Community Land Model. 


Past research has examined the racialized dimensions of land dispossession and environmental risk for Indigenous and Afro-descendant Costa Ricans in the country's Caribbean Talamanca canton. This work included eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork, 60 interviews, 250 household surveys, and geospatial land cover analysis. 

I am also involved in a collaborative project to understand the social dimensions of sustainability in the beef industry in the U.S. Other past research projects have explored the gendered dimensions of livelihood change in mining communities, as well as the networks of food imports between Peru and the United States. I have also written about creative feminist research methodologies. 


This art was made by Alister Méndez Venegas of Hone Creek, Talamanca for the Comité Persona Joven Talamanca. Shown in the woman's face is the landscape of Talamanca, including the historically important cacao fruit and the region's rich biodiversity. The boat holds love, strength, and wisdom, characteristics that Alister associates with Talamanca's women. Alister worked with me as a research assistant during my dissertation fieldwork. Used with permission.

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