Department: Social Sciences & Cultural Studies
University System: Montana State University - Billings
Currently, I teach courses in Geography and Environmental Studies at MSU-Billings, and from Fall 2003 through Spring 2009, I served as the Director of Environmental Studies at MSU-Billings.
I hold bachelor's and master's degrees in Communication from the University of Wyoming. My thesis considered how personal expectations influence organizational climates and conflicts. In 2002, I earned a Ph.D. in Geography from Texas A&M University. I focus on how individuals become attached to particular places and how those attachments influence environmental philosophies, collaborations, and actions.
As the principal investigator for the project, “The Yellowstone Cultural Inventory—2006,” I oversaw interviews with three hundred people living near the Yellowstone River. In 2010, the US Army Corp of Engineers contracted with me to re-contact the participants from the Yellowstone River project to ask for permission to release the original audio-recordings to the public. Over 200 of the original participants released their interviews to the permanent archive with the Western Heritage Center. In 2012, I gathered new interviews with a focus on the flooding and oil spill of 2011. A co-authored article from the 2006 effort appeared in Studies in the Sociology of Science, and a second article is forthcoming in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.
In another project, I examine how local committees influence development along the Upper Yellowstone, the Madison and the Big Hole Rivers of Montana. The results of those efforts have recently appeared in Professional Geographer and Rural Sociology.
The results of my research in Milltown were released in book form in 2011, with co-author Trudy Milburn. The book, Citizen Discourse on Contaminated Water, Superfund Cleanups, and Landscape Restoration: (Re)making Milltown, Montana, is included in the Cambria Press series on Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy.
Earlier projects examined: environmental ethics training as a means of mediating environmental conflict, community-based initiatives as a means of addressing toxic waste disposal, grass-roots organizations in areas where environmental contaminations are suspected of causing birth defects, and combined scientific and local community advisory boards as entities to address TMDL mandates.