I was born in Detroit, Michigan to Jewish parents and attended Jewish day and public schools in the suburbs. I received a BA in American Culture-Ethnic Studies from the University of Michigan in 1999 and an MA and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in 2005 and 2008. I am currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Emergency Management and Community Resilience Program at Portland State University (PSU). I am also an affiliate faculty at PSU in the School of the Environment, Indigenous Nations Studies, and the Institute for Asian Studies.
My research focuses on Indigenous and local knowledge related to mountainous protected, conserved, and secured areas. I also study how households and settlements embedded in integrated social and environmental systems recover from disasters in biophysical extremes. In all my projects, I strive to apply research findings to projects created in participatory ways, such as the integration of Indigenous knowledge into protected area governance, management, and interpretation.
Research interests: Environmental and applied anthropology, ethnoecology, mountainous protected areas, natural hazards and disasters, place-based spirituality, public education, diversity, equity and inclusion; Nepalese Himalaya, Great Basin, Hawaiian Islands, Kenyan Rift Valley, Pacific Northwest