Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences

My scholarship in children’s geographies is multidisciplinary and socio-spatial in nature. Specifically, my research focuses on children’s place attachments, using visual narratives to understand and validate their lived experience. I do this to promote greater inclusivity in urban planning and education. I question embedded cultural norms and expectations that shape who we are and how we inhabit spaces. For example, how does the language and discourse of childhood frame child-place interactions? What does this mean for the felt geography of places and the unique ways by which people, particularly children, develop place attachments? Why does this matter in the context of social and environmental equity/sustainability? Visual narratives, for example drawings, digital stories and emotion maps, help me address these questions in ways that deepen our appreciation for diverse worldviews and nurtures empathy in the research process. I consider the following to be core elements of a humanistic pedagogy: to teach is to understand self in relation to others, to teach is to cultivate humility and compassion, to teach is to learn. I embrace these focal points of my identity to support critical thought and collaborative dialogue in my classes, always striving to be wholly present in mind, body and spirit. Teaching is both a science and an art. It is informed by learning theories, but its practice involves a passion and perspective that is deeply personal. I hope to keep an open mind to learning as well as a willing heart for teaching. As Walt Whitman so aptly described in Leaves of Grass, "wisdom is not finally tested in schools, wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, wisdom is of the soul."