What are you teaching at APU and what does that entail?
I am an environmental philosopher and will be teaching classes in philosophy and environmental studies. This fall I will be teaching the Ethics Colloquium and Environmental Policy. This spring I will be teaching the Philosophy of Science, Critical Thinking, and Intro to Social Science. Next year I will also be teaching Environmental Ethics.
What are your goals for this school year?
My goals for this year are primarily to share my excitement for philosophy and environmental studies with APU students, share some fresh ideas with my classes, and get to know the APU community. I also have a couple of research projects that I am hoping to move forward with on the ethics of climate change and conservation.
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I went to Dartmouth College as an undergrad – I was a double major in Philosophy and Environmental Earth Science. Then I went to the University of Colorado, Boulder for graduate school. There I did an M.S. in environmental studies, and a Ph.D. in environmental philosophy.
What is your fondest memory from when you were in school?
I have spent most of my life in school, so this is a tough one… I spent 4 years as an undergraduate student, 6 years as a graduate student, and have found that learning hardly stops there…I still consider myself a student, and hope I always will.
That said, as an undergrad, my fondest memories are more of people than of classes. Many of my courses instilled in my a curiosity and love of learning that I have keep with me to this day. The first philosophy class I ever took, philosophy of science, got me hooked on questions that do not have discrete answers—in part inspiring me to pursue a career in academia. However, times spent building life long friendships and learning out of the classroom are the memories that have most imprinted on me.
When you were a college student, who was the most influential person in your life?
I was very luckily to have several incredible mentors in college, from teachers, to older students, to peers.
My last two years at Dartmouth I lived at the college organic farm. The farm manager, Scott, is the most influential teacher I have ever had. Though I never had him instruct in a ‘course,’ I often learned more from Scott making soil blocks or harvesting potatoes before class than I did in class. If I would ask a question like, “how come I never see onion flowers?” Scott would just ask questions right back at me, guide me through close observation and thought, until I came back and said, “hey, I figured it out, they must be biennials!”
What do you do in your free time?
I spend as much time as I can outside. I like hiking, biking, climbing, dog walking, blueberry picking, and generally wondering around, but more than anything, I am a skier. I worked as a backcountry ski guide in Colorado while a grad student and dabble in the world of ski mountaineering.
I also really enjoy writing and taking pictures, so I write every day and often have a camera with me. This frequently takes two forms: I love communicating philosophy and sometimes spend my free time writing little bits of philosophy hidden in everyday opinions and stories (a few pieces I have written are linked under my entry here: www.environmentalthought.com/members). I also like to write and share pictures about adventures outside (for example, I sometimes guest blog for https://www.wildsnow.com/author/alex-lee/).
The last book I read was “Sapiens” by Yuval Harari – It is great!
What are you most excited about for this job?
I am thrilled to be at a small college where I can get to know students, teach in small classrooms, and be in Alaska!