My core research interest is discovering how humans interpret their environment and how these interpretations influence their behavior both with the environment and with others in their social group. In short, I have focused on the ethnoecology of agricultural development and conservation, attempting to link agricultural and conservation knowledge with behaviors. I use both qualitative and quantitative methods to discover, describe and explain how cultural models vary within and between social groups.
My graduate work was focused on applied anthropological research of the transition from swidden to irrigated rice agriculture in Madagascar. In addition, I researched environmental knowledge variation among American bird watchers and college students (see my Curriculum Vitae for links to my publications),
After coming to NKU’s anthropology program, I continued my work in Madagascar. I also developed several applied research projects with students in Northern Kentucky and in California. In the process of working locally, I founded and now direct the Center for Applied Anthropology at NKU. The CFAA enables me to engage NKU’s undergraduate students in applying anthropology to prepare students for careers and graduate school in anthropology.
My future plans include continuing research each summer in Belize while leading the Ethnographic Field School in Belize as well as applied research during the fall and spring semesters in Northern Kentucky (see the Center for Applied Anthropology for more information).