I am originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, where I graduated from Lawrence Township’s first Spanish Immersion class in 2006. I continued my education at Indiana University, Bloomington, where I studied Spanish and International Studies, with a focus on human rights and social movements in Latin America. After finishing my undergraduate studies in 2010, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of food and educational projects through organizations such as The Light and Leadership Initiative (Perú), Jatun Sacha (Ecuador), the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension (Globe, AZ/San Carlos Apache Reservation), Daruma Eco-Farm (Thailand), and WorldTeach (China).
In 2014, I began my graduate studies in Applied Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Through my work with U of A’s Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA), Food Systems Research Lab, and the School of Anthropology, I engaged in a variety of collaborative research projects with organizations such as the Southwest Folklife Alliance, Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Tribal Nations, and the National Park Service.
In addition to my applied projects in the U.S. Southwest, my M.A. research was based in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park, where I studied community-owned tourism in the Kichwa Añangu Community. Meanwhile, my Ph.D. research was based in Huaycán, Lima, Perú. There, I studied the shifting politics and critiques of food aid distribution via comedores populares (communal kitchens which sell government-subsidized hot lunches). I finished my Ph.D. at the University of Arizona during the Spring 2022 semester. My dissertation is titled, Food Aid and Kitchen Controversies: Cooking Together in the City of Hope.
In August 2022, I will begin a position as an assistant professor of practice in Applied Anthropology at Purdue University. This is a new, experimental position focused on community engagement and preparing the next generation of applied anthropologists. As a proud Hoosier, I am excited to return to Indiana to bring my love of community-based participatory research back to my home state, while continuing projects in Latin America.