I obtained my bachelor’s degree in botany with a specialization in Latin American studies from Michigan State University. During my junior year I studied abroad for a semester in Costa Rica at EARTH College. While I was in Costa Rica I did a research project on how individuals utilized their natural environment for their immediate medical needs. The majority of the research was a survey of medicinal plants used in a rural region near the town of Guacimo in the Atlantic Coastal region. Once I graduated from MSU, I went to Iowa State University where I obtained my master’s degree in cultural anthropology. My master’s research was conducted in Las Minas, a rural community in Panama. I examined whether the dramatic changes in medical delivery practices effectively met the cultural (and medical) needs of the people in a rural community. This research attempted to answer that question by looking at medical decision-making for women in Las Minas, Panama in terms of their reproductive health. My research also looked at the use of medicinal plants in rural health care systems in Panama and sought to determine what role traditional health care systems are playing in an area with increasing access to biomedical treatments.
I am currently a PhD candidate in anthropology and a NSF IGERT Working Forests in the Tropics Fellow. I am researching the influence of social networks (specifically an individual’s position within the social network of a rural community) on variation in traditional ecological knowledge (specifically medicinal plant knowledge). I am carrying out my research in a rural community in the state of Yucatán in Mexico.
Area(s) of Training
applied anthropology, cultural anthropology
Area(s) of Expertise
Social Network Analysis, Medicinal Plants, Yucatan, Mexico, Yucatec Maya
Most Recent Degree
Current Area of Employment
Student at University of Florida
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