I am a writer and an editor, with academic training in geography (PhD, University of Kentucky); folk studies and historic preservation (MA, Western Kentucky University); and history (BA, University of Kentucky).
Throughout my career, my research and writing has focused primarily on development policies and practices, alternative economies, and regional studies; however, I am interested in a broad range of topics in the natural and social sciences. As an experienced instructor and administrator, I am skilled at developing and implementing community-based and student-oriented outreach programs; serving as an event and project coordinator; and conducting research for nonprofit, state, and federal entities.
I also hold a certificate in editing (University of Chicago) and have subject-area expertise in the following fields:
• human and physical geography
• economic and cultural geography
• regional studies
• political economy
• social, cultural, political, economic, and historical geography of Appalachia
• folk studies, folk art, Appalachian music and dance, and historic preservation
• critical development theory and development policies and practices
• diverse and alternative economies
• community development
• qualitative methods and oral history collection
My doctoral research examined long-standing tensions between conventional economic development strategies and alternative economic practices within the context of eastern Kentucky’s handcraft industry. My paper, “Rendering Regional Development Technical: An Examination of ‘Appalachia: A Report by the President’s Appalachian Regional Commission, 1964,'” which grew out of this research, provides a historical and discursive analysis of regional development policy and its unintended consequences. In March 2011, I received the Carl A. Ross Graduate & Undergraduate Research Paper Award from the Appalachian Studies Association for this work. A revised and expanded version, co-authored with Michael Samers, has been published in Studying Appalachian Studies (2015).
Before completing my PhD at the University of Kentucky and serving as assistant professor of intercultural geography and coordinator of Appalachian Studies at Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, I worked as the arts and culture outreach coordinator at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky. I hold a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree in folk studies from Western Kentucky University. In May 2007, I received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology and the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from Potter College of Arts and Sciences.
I have worked diligently to make my research available to the public, and citations for all of my publications are available on this site.