Institute of Behavioral Science
Secondary Core Area
Enviromental Sociology, population dynamics and environmental context, rural livelihoods and natural resources in sub-Saharan Africa, climate and migration.
Ph.D. 1997 Brown University
My educational background and current interests stem from my concern with both societal and environmental well-being. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington in Seattle, a "light bulb" turned on for me during a course in classical social theory. I realized that the examination of social issues, problems, and patterns from a scientific perspective is both fascinating and essential. As a graduate student, I pursued studies within Social Demography with an emphasis on migration and population redistribution. Yet, I felt something was missing. With the introduction to courses in Environmental Sociology, I realized that what was missing for me was consideration of the environmental context within which social relations occur. Hence, my research and teaching in human-environment interactions. Personally, I believe the integrity of the natural environment is at risk. Professionally, I believe that we cannot fully understand this risk, or work towards lessening this risk, until we grapple with the human dimensions of environmental change. As a Sociologist, I believe we must understand how humans come to perceive the natural environment, and how these perceptions influence human interaction with the natural environment. Finally, I believe we must work to understand the implications of these human-environment interactions. These objectives guide my professional life.