Laureen's interest in environmental studies grew as she traveled through Southeast Asia and South America, noticing that local resource users' idea of environmentalism often bore little resemblance to familiar interpretations. She has since been particularly interested in the environment-development nexus, examining how politics shapes global environmental policy that can, and often does, have profound impacts on local livelihoods.
Laureen has worked in a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Site in the Interior Atlantic Forest (Paraguay), where she helped facilitate the emergence of local and regional governance institutions. She has researched environmental politics in the context of soy production in South America, with particular focus on the development of â€˜sustainable soyâ€™ certification criteria. She has also worked in teams involved in landscape and land-use modeling. Up-and-coming research will involve developing a social science-based, policy-relevant approach to developing and implementing indicators of sustainable development.
Laureen began teaching environmental studies at WPI in 2011. In the classroom, she enjoys the challenge of inspiring learning and intellectual development, while helping students develop the skills required to achieve good outcomes. Encouraging debate and discussion in class, and using real-world cases are both key to Laureen's teaching philosophy.