Professor and Chair
Population, GIS, rural geography, ethnicity, identity and mobility

Carnegie Hall, 104c

Curriculum Vitae

As a broadly trained population geographer my research interests focus on ethnic minority mobilities, rural livelihood sustainability, and the implications of migration for rural communities.  I work primarily in two regions of the world, Mongolia ( and North America.  Funded by a generous New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, I recently had the opportunity to spend a year (2013-2014) at the Australian National University where I was Fellow at the Mongolia Studies Centre and completed a further degree in Asia-Pacific Studies, both of which enhance and forward my interests in the dynamic and rapidly changing migration and development landscape of Mongolia.

At Macalester, I genuinely enjoy bringing my experiences and research into the classroom.  I do this through in-depth case studies of population issues in my Population 7 Billion course and through civic engagement projects based on partnerships with local community groups in the GIS & Community Partnerships course.  In the Migrants & Migrancy senior capstone course I bring these strategies together and encourage students to develop their senior projects based on fieldwork and grounded in contemporary academic perspectives on migration, and more broadly, community changes resulting from shifting migration patterns.  I’ve been fortunate to be able to build these synergies between my research and teaching which have allowed students to join me in fieldwork as part of either course-based activities or as research partners on larger projects.

In 2004, I began working on questions of migration and transnationalism in the western aimag of Bayan-Ulgii Mongolia to better understand the on-going migration of Mongolia Kazakhs between Mongolia and Kazakhstan during the transition period between 1991 and 2010. As Mongolia’s economy has grown, migration flows have shifted towards Ulaanbaatar and this is where my research too is shifting as I and my research partners continue to investigate the nuances and implications of this migration flow for ethnic Kazakhas in Mongolia. For information about the project, photos, publications and more, see the website, The Mongolian Kazakh Diaspora.

I am also a member of the editorial board for the and a co-chair of the International Geographical Union’s Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems (IGU-CSRS).  The CSRS is one of the forty commissions of International Geographical Union. For twenty years CSRS has endeavoured to achieve a better understanding of rural areas and of their sustainability.