Office Location
Project Center 210A
Contact
Phone: 
+1-508-831-6167
Melissa Belz
Assistant Teaching Professor
Affiliated with: 
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Education: 
BS Environmental Design University of Massachusetts, Amherst 1995
MA International Architectural Regeneration and Development Oxford Brookes University 2000
PhD Geography Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 2012
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 recent research is 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 Assistant Teaching Professor in IGSD. 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.
Office Location
Project Center 210A
Contact
Phone: 
+1-508-831-6167
Professional Highlights & Honors: 
International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
2005
International Preservation Exchange, Jamaica
Pruitt National Fellowship
2011
Society of Women Geographers
Presidential Teaching Excellence Award
2012
College of Arts and Science, Kansas State University