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Geography fascinates me because, at its best, it is the most holistic of all academic disciplines. I became interested in geography when bicycling across the United States and marveling at how the cultural and physical terrain changed as my tires turned. That curiosity changed the topography of my own life by opening my eyes to geography as a perspective and a career.
I am particularly interested in the dark, dynamic world of the soil and its connection to people in both past and contemporary contexts. My research pays particular attention to the imprint of past peoples on soil. My primary focus has been in Latin America and the Caribbean, where I have collaborated with archaeologists to study ancient cultures through the medium of soil and sediment analysis. I also collaborate with local archaeologists on geoarchaeological investigations in Minnesota and the region.
Other interests include soil education, physical geography education, and science education for girls. My courses at UMD include Introduction to Physical Geography, Geography of Soils, Environmental Conservation, Weather and Climate, and Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean.