I hold a Dow Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. I am conducting independent research on the environmental and social impacts of local food systems, while also coordinating qualitative research for the USDA-funded Food Access in Michigan project (Dr. Dorceta Taylor, P.I.).
My research on local food systems was recently awarded a leveraging grant from the
University of Michigan Water Center. The grant will fund a large-scale survey of farmers
in Great Lakes states, in-depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with a subsample of survey respondents, and the integration of survey and fieldwork data with ecological models of Great
I work at the intersection of environmental, political and cultural sociology. My research focuses on three questions. First, why do organizations and individuals adopt practices conducive to
environmental sustainability and social equity? Second, what are the environmental and social implications of efforts to strengthen local food systems? Third, how do differences rooted in social
class shape how people think about, interact with, and are affected by the natural environment?
I use a range of methods and theoretical approaches to address questions connected to my core interests. As a postdoctoral fellow, I am investigating whether strong local food systems contribute to environmental and social sustainability. My doctoral work developed new theory on the subjective experience of "socially responsible purchasing" and on why "buying local" may have surprisingly broad support across socioeconomic and political lines. I have also written on environmental inequality in developing countries, impediments to interdisciplinarity in sustainability science, the political history of climate change, and challenges in environmental education.
Before completing my Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Michigan, I worked as a fundraiser for non-profit groups, a reporter, a housekeeper in backcountry Alaska, and an ecological field assistant in Arizona. I hold a master's degree in political science from Princeton and a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago.
Please visit the rest of my website, or download my C.V., for more information on all aspects of my academic work.