- B.S. in Geography, minor in Biology, from University of Wisconsin - Whitewater.
- M.S. and Ph.D. in Geography from Northern Illinois University with an interdisciplinary specialization in conservation biogeography.
Research and/or Creative Interests
My primary research explores the structure and dynamics of vegetation communities in relation to the conservation of biodiversity and human-environment interactions. Broadly, my current research interests include topics related to plant invasion dynamics, forest ecology, restoration and management, soil science, conservation genetics, the environmental impact of climate change on ecosystems, STEM education, women in science, cartography, and wetlands. If any of these topics interest you too, come talk with me!
Teaching Interests/Courses taught at UTC:
GEOG 1010: Physical Geography (Online and Face-to-face)
GEOG 1030: World Geography
GEOG 2210: Maps and Mapping
GEOG/ECS 2500: World Resources
GEOG 3070: Geography of Europe – FUTURE
GEOG 2000 level: Geography of of Plant Communities and Invasives - FUTURE
I make every effort to design student-centered courses that encourage students to transition from passive learners to active learners. Active learning environments advocate the application of knowledge, while students utilize essential life skills such as communication, strategic thinking, and problem-solving. I strive to balance class activities (both in and out of the classroom in the form of field method demonstrations, seminars, presentations, field trips, community engagement, service learning, etc.) with meaningful and relevant lectures that establish a foundation upon which student learning is fostered. I work to relate my lectures to the students’ lives and the world around them by incorporating topical global and local current events. I also encourage students to participate in research, whether it is assisting me with my field and lab research or designing and conducting their own small research projects. When possible, I have integrated research experiences into in-class undergraduate honors projects and other activities that benefit the students’ learning, and can ultimately be linked back to the main course objectives. Ultimately, the skills developed in student-centered classes, are often the same skills that are required for establishing and maintaining successful careers after the students’ education, regardless of their subsequent path.
Why did you become a Geography professor?
I’ve always had an interest in teaching. At the onset of my college journey, I pursued early childhood education, but my passions quickly transitioned toward environmental science and academia. My path to geography was indirect and as such, I enjoy teaching students who have their own unique and meandering educational journeys. As a geography professor, I aim to shatter mistaken stereotypes students might have about geography, connect students’ personal experiences to class content, and inspire excitement and compassion about the world we call home.
Outside of being a professor, what do you do for fun and/or relaxation?
Outside of academia, I enjoy spending time with my husband and son. I also enjoy swimming, sewing, and exploring the world through travel.
What are your expectations of students?
- Take responsibility and ownership of your educational experiences – You’ll get out of them only what you put into them!
- Develop and practice self-discipline, time management, and organization skills.
- Maintain communication with me throughout the semester and come to me well before the end of the semester to discuss difficulties or issues – believe me, this will decrease your anxieties about the class and make it more enjoyable and meaningful!
- Show respect to all faculty, staff and fellow students, regardless of their race, background, religious affiliation, gender, sexual preference, disability or any other perceived difference.
- Have fun and explore your passions!
What's something about you that might surprise your students?
I’ve traveled to 19 countries, was accidentally stranded by my tour group at a French truck stop, and was searched by armed guards in Russia. You’ll have to come talk to me if you want to hear more about these and other adventures!