I am a geographer with a focus on the cultural landscape, meaning landscapes that are shaped by people. I am interested in development, how and why places change, and why certain traditions endure. I study this mainly through vernacular architecture (traditional regional design). My research was based in the Indian Himalaya and explores what connections forest policy and cash crop markets have with the decline in architectural woodcarving and vernacular design. I hope to better understand how modernization and preservation can be balanced to sustain culturally distinct landscapes.
Previous to pursuing my Ph.D., I spent 10 years working in the field of architecture, blending interests in international development, sustainable construction, and preservation. I worked as a designer and spent several years in preservation and zoning in a National Historic District in Colorado. Additionally, I worked in the international development field with projects focused on appropriate and sustainable construction. Most of my work took place in Mexico’s border region for U.S. based non-profits and in Mongolia for the United Nations Development Program.
I am thrilled to bring these experiences to my position as Associate Teaching Professor in IGSD and as Director of the Costa Rica Project Centers. Previously, I have taught courses in Human Geography, Geography of Tourism, and Environmental Geography. At WPI, I teach ID2050 (which prepares students for their IQP experience) and advise at various off-campus IQP project centers. It is very rewarding to work with students as they take on actual problems that matter in a community. I am particularly excited to be part of their experiences as they learn how their skills have broad application and can have a positive impact on society.