1. What led you to political science as a field of study?
When I declared my major in political science it was when I was aspiring to law school and a career in lobbying. I was recruited to WWU to be on the Debate Team and to participate in competitive debate and felt my skills in crafting persuasive arguments would be useful on capitol hill. Ultimately, though, I took Dr. Johnson's class on international development and that is what put me on my career path. It was the most incredible light bulb moment for me.
2. What did you like most about the political science department at WWU or about being a political science major?
I loved the department--I was a work study student, so I sat in the department for several hours a week and I did research for professors, or shuttled books back and forth from the library and other admin tasks. In one memorable moment, I helped prepare the faulty office for the outgoing chair and found library books that had been due before I was born! I was very invested in international relations and I was also keen on the great teaching. I took every class the late Professor Rutan offered, even his British politics class, even though I was a budding Latin Americanist. Again, the international development course with Dr. Johnson changed my intellectual path and so international development became a really important subtopic for me and I ended up taking a graduate course with Dr. Johnson to pursue the subject further.
3. What are you doing now (this can include what have you done since graduating).
I did go on to graduate school by way of the LSAT and was dual enrolled at the Washington College of Law and the American University in the School of International Service. However, I took one look at the slate of first year law classes and saw their domestic focus (I was determined, at this point, that I would argue international human rights cases in the Hague) and turned my back on law school. after receiving my MA, I spent a few years as an international development consultant in Washington, D.C., and found that everything I had learned in my MA had set me up to repeat the same practices that were destroying the planet and keeping people in poverty. I decided to pursue a PhD so I could offer that same light bulb moment to students and then I fell in love with doing international fieldwork and research as part of the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon. I am now an award winning book author, fellow of the American Association of Geographers, and tenured faculty member at the University of Delaware in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences. I conduct fieldwork in the Americas and I teach in our human geography and environmental studies programs.