Currently a master’s student at the University of Oregon, I am interesting in environmental sociology. Specifically, my current research involves an ethnographic approach to understanding how a variety of social variables and place identities may influence the social construction perspectives on future catastrophe. Focused on Coos Bay, Oregon, it seeks to develop ideas about how residents construct the potential for future disasters, with a particular focus on climate change related flooding and subduction earthquakes. I also love to teach, and just co-designed and am now co-teaching an upper division undergraduate environmental studies course in which we seek to deconstruct the concepts of food and water security, availability, and access, to understand how they operate in local contexts.
Having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Anthropology, I moved on Vanderbilt University Law School where I served as an articles editor on the Vanderbilt University Law Review. Facing the specter of student loan debt and following what I then thought was the normal path, I spent about five years working in real estate finance in New York City. I focused primarily on real-estate heavy mergers and acquisitions, finance including investment joint venture arrangements, and commercial leasing. While I enjoyed working with many of my colleagues and the projects were fascinating, around the time that my supervising partner called me into his office and told me that I had been recommended for partnership track I finally came to grips with the fact that my heart was no longer in it. And then neither was I.
Evidently not fans of small shifts, my wife Brittany and I moved on to the Peace Corps and found ourselves working in community-based conservation in a small and very remote village in northern Zambia. After two years of service, we were selected for a third year working with Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, developing and managing an environmental community outreach program that, among other things, sought to address human-wildlife conflict—and troubled histories—in villages adjacent to a wildlife-rich national park. The interpretation and reinterpretation of assumptions about how we interact with our environments developed during these shifts kindled the idea that the community modes of thought represent a key, and somewhat underexplored, link between information and decision-making. This is what I hope to continue to explore, at least when I’m not busy with class, teaching, or my main job hanging out with my 7-month old Elijah.