I am an energy geographer that studies how material, political and environmental processes interconnect and with what effects in the context of energy development. I work on unconventional and renewable energy systems in both domestic and international contexts. The main theoretical lens I employ in my research is political-industrial ecology, an emerging sub-field of geography that aims to embed resources flows within their broader historic, economic and political contexts. An overarching goal of my research, teaching and service is to develop strategies for reducing environmental inequities in energy systems.
Currently, I am working on three main research projects:
- Analyzing the food-energy-water nexus associated with unconventional energy development in the US and Canada;
- Evaluating the political-industrial ecology of the emerging petrochemical industry in the Ohio River Valley of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio;
- Researching the linkages between coal mining and the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Prior to joining Penn State, I was an Assistant Professor of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics from 2013–16. I earned a PhD in Environmental Studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (2012), a Master's in Public Policy from UC Berkeley (2007) and a BS in Economics from The George Washington University (2000). Prior to graduate school, I worked in the energy industry for numerous years first as an economic consultant in Washington, DC, and second as a consultant for the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris, France. I am originally from the anthracite coal mining region of Scranton, PA and am proud to be a coal miner’s granddaughter.
I have recently been appointed to the Environmental Justice Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
I am currently accepting graduate students and would be happy to talk to prospective applicants about our Master’s and PhD programs in geography at Penn State.