Education: PhD, geography, Louisiana State University, 2001 M.A., geography, Univ of Texas at Austin, 1997 B.A., geography, Penn State, 1990
Languages: Spanish, English
Internationally known scholar with over 30 scholarly publications in environment, ornithology, botany, philosophy, etc. Have taught university classes in geography, environmental studies, philsophy, and other disciplines since 1994. Former Peace Corps Volunteer. Latin American area specialist. Expert witness testimony given for asylums seekers from Honduras.
Current Position: Earth Scientist, Ethnobotanist and Conservationist
I am an academic geographer by profession, trained at the PhD level and with 23 years’ teaching and research experience, but I wear many hats. I also consider myself an environmental conservationist and commuity development expert, building on my service to the US Peace Corps (1991-93) and my lifelong dedication to educating people about the natural world, saving biodiversity, and protecting the environment.
I have lived and travelled in 40 countries on 6 continents, so I am an inveterate student of the human condition and the ever-more-threatened natural landscapes of our planet.
As a researcher, I have written three books and over 30 academic articles and given more than a hundred professional talks. My main accomplishments in this realm include the recent discovery of the use of fire as a tool by Australian birds (publicized in National Geographic, the New York Times, and many other venues), the discovery of cycads (a type of plant) as sacred ancestors of maize, and the use of complexity theory to explain changes in earth systems. I’ve also published widely in ornithology, paleontology, philosophy, political science, and other disciplines.
In the classroom and online, I have designed and taught numerous courses to thousands of US undergraduates and graduate students, and have been most successful in complex role-playing games as teaching aids. I have worked with students from underprivileged backgrounds in Mississippi and Pennsyvania, and have also engaged in adult education in impoverished and remote communities of Honduras and Mexico. I have done a wide range of community outreach activities, for which I have won various awards.
Over the years, I have mentored many people, particularly students, as they pursue their majors and their life goals. I am highly experienced in the entire process of helping visualize goals, express them, and discuss them with potential employees, university programs, and other audiences, and I also have vast experience in everything related to writing and editing. I am very comfortable talking to a wide range of audiences in both English and Spanish, everywhere from United Nations and professional academic conferences, to the classroom, to public meetings in remote villages around the globe.
On the factual expertise side, my academic experience has given me unparalleled access to information–and the critical assessment that information–in the realm of the natural and social sciences as well in politics, particulary international relations.
Other skills I can offer are leadership–I have been elected leader of several groups, including faculty senate, grant-writing, curriculum writing, program assessment, and field identification of birds and plants.