blog postsPostcards from the Field: Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food SecurityJul 31, 2017 3:30 pm254 views In June, I had the distinct privilege of representing the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) at the 2017 U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security. Led by Purdue University’s Center for Global Food Security, the 2017 Summer Institute provided 40 of the top graduate students from across the nation with an intensive introduction to global food security, with special emphasis on the utility of multidisciplinary teams and complex problem solving of real-world challenges. Postcards from the Field: Global Young Scientists Summit in SingaporeJan 24, 2017 12:30 pm251 views Excite, engage, enable. These three words are the driving mission behind the gathering of over 250 PhD and postdoctoral fellows at the Global Young Scientists Summit of 2017 in Singapore. Eric Epstein, Shama Barna, Gregory Hart and I had the distinct pleasure of representing the University of Illinois at this year’s summit.Postcards from the Field: Human Occupation and Competition for Resources in Laos and VietnamAug 15, 2016 4:00 pm412 views The humidity outside of the sprawling cavern is oppressive, but in the murky depths of Tam Pa Ling it is cool, almost cold. We sit in a 5 meter deep pit under flickering generator-powered lights, squeezing the clay soil through our fingers, looking for the remains of our ancestors. The precision of my traditional archaeology training is thrown out the window as the team scrabbles at the muddy soil with hands and trowels, feeling more than seeing anything contained within the clay. Tam Pa Ling, or the Cave of the Monkeys, is located in northern Laos and since its discovery in 2008 has been a site of emerging human fossils that continue to push the date of human occupation in Southeast Asia back.Postcards from the Field: Inheriting the City Conference in TaipeiApr 28, 2016 11:00 am251 views Last month, I traveled to Taipei with my fellow PhD candidate in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Lassamon Maitreemit, and our dissertation adviser, Lynne Dearborn. Lassmon and I presented our dissertation projects to international cultural heritage academics and experts at the “Inheriting the City: Advancing Understanding of Urban Heritage” meeting. “Inheriting the City” afforded me the opportunity to share my work with some of the best minds in heritage preservation and now my name and ideas are out in community. I got great feedback on my project and have motivation to move forward with my work on a larger scale. Both during sessions and in our free time, Taipei offered great hospitality, so much to see and do, and warm weather!Postcards from the Field: Interviewing in Rural TanzaniaFeb 20, 2017 4:00 pm306 views You never know what you will find when you sit down to interview someone. Where have they lived? Who have they worked for? What challenges have they overcome? Who have they lost? After explaining that I am a history graduate student conducting research about gender change and the role of the church in Tanzanian society, I usual start by asking the most basic question. What is your name? It turns out that the answer isn’t always simple.Postcards from the Field: Investigating Sustainable International Development in EcuadorJul 1, 2016 8:45 pm457 views In May I had the opportunity to travel to Lumbisi, Ecuador, to study what makes international engineering design projects sustainable and durable. With a team of other graduate and undergraduate students and three faculty members, we spent two weeks conducting surveys and interviews and learning the cultural, political, and social atmosphere of the Lumbisi. Many international engineering projects (think water distribution systems, water filtration, agricultural irrigation systems, etc.) are rooted in good intentions: technically trained people want to use their skills to better those around the world who are less fortunate than themselves. But sadly, many of these good intentions lead to projects, especially in rural communities, that ultimately fail. The research in Lumbisi is designed to understand the importance of viewing an engineering project holistically, even if it seems purely technical at first glance. Postcards from the Field: Setting Up Research Collaborations in IndiaDec 12, 2018 4:30 pm366 views We landed in Bangalore International Airport after a journey of about 20 hours then took a bus for 6.5 hours to reach our destination: Shimoga - the original site of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) and the topic of my dissertation. Shimoga is part of the Malenadu region which means ‘heavy rainfall’ region in Kannada, which is the local language. The landscape of Shimoga is interesting; it is crisscrossed with tons of paddy fields, coconut trees, areca, paper and rubber plantations. Nestled in the Western Ghats of India, Shimoga is the district headquarter and our primary location for research on the epidemiology of KFD, a highly infectious disease system transmitted by ticks in India.Postcards from the Field: The Future of Science at the Lindau MeetingAug 15, 2019 4:15 pm17 views What is the future of science? How can scientists better impact society? These are just two examples of the many profound questions that I had the opportunity to ponder and discuss at the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting that took place in July. The annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is a gathering of Nobel Laureates and young scientists (undergrads, grads, and postdocs) from around the world with the purpose of engaging in an international and intergenerational science dialogue.