I'm a born and raised Alaskan, and over the years I have worn many hats working and living there: journalist, legislative aide, campaign director, tourist train bartender, and environmental organizer, to name a few. I moved back to Anchorage to complete research on my Ph.D. and I have remained here since: it is a rare and critical moment to bear witness to the Arctic as it melts. In addition to completing my dissertation, I coordinate the fundraising and development efforts of the state's largest environmental advocacy organization.
Before grad school and even before completing my B.A. at the University of Washington in 2005, I spent several years and cashed in more than a few Alaskan oil dividend checks to rack up over 50,000 miles criss-crossing the country on Greyhound buses (I had a mild obsession with Blue Highways). I learned a great deal from my fellow passengers on those buses about socioeconomic inequality, urban-rural politics, and the chronic effects of ontological insecurity and dislocation on resilience and well-being—all lessons that have served me well as I've worked to untangle the various dynamics of my dissertation and related projects.
Thanks to my background in government, campaign work, and the nonprofit world (I also completed two terms as an AmeriCorps volunteer), for me my academic work is deeply connected with community activism and progressive policy advocacy--particularly environmental and climate policy. Over the course of my dissertation research, I have engaged deeply with questions of social inequality, environmental sustainability, and democratic participation, and have over and over again seen just how inextricably linked all three issues are. My dissertation aims to shed light on some of those connections, while also pointing a path forward for progressive policy makers and community activists who seek a more sustainable world in a post-carbon future.
In my spare time, I still love a good road trip more than just about anything else, as well as a variety of other adventures with my dogs (especially skijoring and chasing moose around.) I am currently finishing my dissertation and have converted my tiny car into a largely solar-powered teeny-tiny RV, and can be usually be found somewhere between Anchorage, Seattle, and Hudson Bay.
(My genius dog, Motown, helping me write my dissertation. He demanded the squeaky toy and the Tom Robbins.)