INTROSPECTIONS

About Me

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I am the Alaska born and raised mother of Celia and Everett and owner of Guido Gelato Cioccolato and Tobi Moray, two Spinone Italiano bird dogs. Both of my parents are marine scientists and scientific ambassadors who have collaborated with colleagues around the globe. I spent most of my winters growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska riding my horse Gremlin, skiing and 'acting' in the chorus of various Gilbert and Sullivan operettas (my mother was the accompanist). 


My summers were spent in Seattle, Washington. The former produced a woman of the northern latitudes - we are a paradoxical combination of hearty self-sufficiency yet possessed of an antenna attuned to neighbors in need. When it is 20 degrees below zero, one must know how to change a tire and come quickly to the aid of someone else who cannot! Comparatively balmy summers in the Pacific Northwest consisted of swimming, camping, sailing, plus art and modern Greek lessons, all of which still play a part in my life. One teenage summer spent sailing in the Cyclades in Greece solidified my love of exploring new places, meeting new people and consuming new food and drink. All of which also still play a part in my life. 


I earned bachelor degrees in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Alaska and moved overseas to earn a Masters in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics. After working in the non-profit sector, I joined the wild world of software development and spent 15 years working my way up to Director of Product Management. I took assignments in London and Copenhagen in development groups and in my last role, worked with my company's partners around the world to smooth their technical and business transitions onto our platform and into the modern world of online commerce. After fifteen years in that industry, I left in 2014 to earn a Masters in Geopolitics and Security (Distinction) followed by a PhD in Human Geography with a specialization in Political Geography at Royal Holloway University of London. 

What I'm Working On

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  Maritime geographies form one of my core research interests. I am writing a book based on my PhD thesis that concerns the extension and challenge to colonial power as embodied in an ice-breaker built in the 1920s for Territorial Alaska and eventually became, clandestinely, Israel's first warship in 1948. I have written several articles also based on my PhD research. One unpacks the evolution of cold climate oceanography as experienced by a young oceanographer on the U.S. Coast Guard's Bering Sea Patrol cruise of 1937. Another centers on a volcanic island, Bogoslof, located just north of the Aleutian chain. This island flummoxed observers for decades as seafarers were unable to chart its coast and geologists sought to explain its continuous metamorphosis. A third article proposes human geographers adopt model building as a method, an approach I pioneered in my doctoral project. 


My second principal research agenda focuses on the intersection of science and human geography. This research agenda is designed to interrogate sites of long-term scientific research to trace the evolution and provenance of scientific research outcomes at sites that have been active for fifty years or more. I am particularly intrigued with how sites are chosen and persist; how the attributes of such sites both determine and constrain scientific research objectives and findings; and how the research carried out does or does not co-construct sites' spaces and places. Also implicit in this study of scientific inquiry is an analysis of the role of funding sources and the power relations that underpin and influence funding decisions. 



What I'm Thinking About...

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Nautical Geographies: When thinking about navigating the spaces of ships and places from ships, which terms and concepts are transferable from terrestrial literature and where do we need to spend some energy and thought filling in the inevitable gaps?


Referendums: How can we develop a critical approach to this category of over-simplified thumbs up or down vote on very complex questions of major import such as the Scottish Referendum (the subject of my Master's dissertation) and Brexit? 


The Arctic: What unique contributions can human geographers make to understanding the impact of climate change on the arctic? 


Ship Geographies: When thinking about navigating the spaces of ships and places from ships, which terms and concepts are transferable from terrestrial literature and where do we need to spend some energy filling inevitable gaps?


Repatriation: Former empires mostly retain objects (and human remains) taken from former colonies. Whether contemplating the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum or human remains from St. Lawrence Island, there is no simple solution to the problem of displacement. Do these objects have agency? 


Refoulement and the Sea: Refoulement is the legal term for returning immigrants to the site of their departure. We can trace some of today's state action back to the crisis of and after WWII in Europe. 


I enjoy discovering solutions to stubborn problems through research, solid analysis and synthesizing information. This approach has been productive in both industry and academia. It is ultimately always a pleasure, even when it is momentarily not, to work with students and colleagues to advance our knowledge and skills and gain intellectual and pragmatic progress on a variety of research subjects. I love teaching, and in particular encouraging the development of independent critical thinking and, naturally, an awareness of the role of geography in historical and contemporary inquiry. I find the intersection of people, geographies and power relations provides a virtually unlimited and perpetually fascinating work surface.