University of Wyoming
Role(s) in BANR:
Task 3.6 - Socioeconomic & Policy Analysis
I completed my Ph.D. in the Department of Environmental Policy and Anthropology at the University of Georgia. Before moving to Georgia I earned my undergrad and Master’s from the University of Wyoming. My research trajectory has consistently focused on environmental and political topics. For my Master’s I studied uranium mining in Wyoming. I was able to work with local uranium miners, CEO’s of uranium companies, the head of the Wyoming Miner’s Association, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, and Wyoming’s State Legislature to develop a set of recommendations for the state concerning the social and environmental effects of uranium mining. This project also culminated in an article in Extractive Industries and Society, a peer-reviewed international mining journal.
My Master’s research helped shape my dissertation research which analyzes the relationship between environmental science and policy, with the aim of finding common ground for strengthening the role of scientific evidence in policy development. I focused on water issues in the state of Georgia because it is an excellent example of how scientific evidence, policy development, and politics interact. During my dissertation fieldwork I conducted over a hundred interviews with key politicians and scientists, environmental advocates, and interest groups, while analyzing media and documents associated with water policy decision making in the state.
My fieldwork endeavor was funded through one of four National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants from the Science and Policy Program ($10,923, #1535885). I also earned the University of Georgia Graduate School Dean’s Award, the Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Grant, the Summer Dissertation Research Fellowship, and the J.W. Fanning Fellowship in recognition of this work and my wider career trajectory to pursue a career as a practitioner and scholar at the science-policy interface.
Starting in June 2017, I will be working alongside Dr. Sarah Strauss as a post-doctoral research associate for the Bioenergy Alliance of the Northern Rockies (BANR). Our work explores the sociocultural-ecological dimensions of beetle-killed and other forest biomass as a bioenergy feedstock to provide rigorous scientific underpinnings to support a sustainable regional renewable energy industry.