I am an anthropologist at Carnegie Mellon University. My faculty appointment is with the Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences and the Human-Computer Interaction Institute. I am also affiliated with Carnegie Mellon’s Center for the Future of Work and Simon Initiative. I specialize in organizational and contextual barriers and affordances to the adoption of innovative tools and practices in higher education. I apply anthropological methods and theory to analyze human engagement with the material world in my field research, and am interested in learning science, factionalism, the pedagogical training of future faculty, the politics of praxis in fieldwork, identity maintenance, and political economy in urban growth. My research in Latin America interrogates assumptions about cultural heterogeneity in the context of long-term urban growth, and highlights the ways that social networks dynamically impact technical choices and the development of informal economies. My current projects explore the intersection of campus culture, technological change, and effective teaching at the college level. My research informs policymaking, shapes the development of learning technologies, and illuminates aspects of organizational culture and policy which affect teaching practice.
Prior to receiving my doctorate in Anthropology, I collaborated to develop, execute, analyze, and disseminate results of research studies at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), part of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, and the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. This experience with qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research in healthcare, criminal justice, policy, and equity spanned more than a decade, during which I was immersed in interdisciplinary research on social change, equity, and diversity. My dissertation, supported by a Fulbright award and entitled “Cultural Variation in the Maya City of Palenque”, is an exploration of spatial, cultural, and economic integration on the margins of ancient cities. This work identifies multiple economies, manifestations of practice, and political interrelationships within an individual polity at the same time, detailing the inequalities that drive dynamism and complexity in urban landscapes. This research and training leverages archaeological methods for the analysis of technology, and especially the analysis of technological innovation, as well as the integration of innovations into extant cultural contexts and the disruptive nature of innovative change in systems of inequity. A recent archaeological turn has been underway in the field of anthropology, and these methodologies have proven vital in my ongoing research on the role of innovation and technology in the changing landscape of higher education.