I'm a settler from southern Wisconsin. I grew up on our family's farmland -  traditional homelands taken from the Potawatomi. 

Family dinner conversations included discussions of the politics of land use, rapid exurbanization, and farming.  Exploring local to global environmental issues and policy has always been a part of my day-to-day conversation. 

I am a woman, mother, scholar, collaborator, and settler. My three children and husband support my work and often join me in the field.  

I encourage my students, my teams, and my colleagues to embrace their humanity.  


I went to Knox College for my undergraduate degree in economics with a concentration in environmental studies. My honors thesis explored vertical integration of the hog market - an issue affecting many agricultural producers.

I went on to Indiana University for my PhD in the joint program in public policy in the Political Science Department and School of Public and Environmental Affairs

I had the great privilege of working with Dr. Elinor Ostrom - the first woman to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. My dissertation focused on land use institutions, forestry, and urbanization. 


To be a scholar is a privilege - it also comes with responsibility. Responsibility to conduct societally relevant research, dismantle injustice to create an inclusive academy, and support students in their training for diverse career paths. 

Humility is central to my philosophy.  Working with communities we must embrace humility in their knowledge and lived experiences. 

Working as a white settler with Indigenous and minoritized communities, I must embrace humility and reflect upon my position, my power, and my privilege.  

Centering the humanity of collaborators, communities, and students is critical; we must also recognize our duty and responsibility that comes with our privilege. 


Examining collective action - how people come together (or not) to solve commons dilemmas - is my primary research domain. To interrogate these questions, I explore diverse empirical spaces and cases.  

Transdisciplinary (defined as interdisciplinary AND co-produced scholarship with communities, rightsholders, and stakeholders) team science is necessary to address commons research questions.  

Much of my work builds upon Elinor Ostrom's institutional scholarship legacy - I seek to advance our understanding of multi-level commons governance and explore issues of power and injustice. 

Current position

I'm a Professor of Governance and Public Policy and Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.  I co-lead Earth System Science for the Anthropocene, a graduate training initiative, with Dr. Nancy Grimm.

Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today.

Earth System Science for the Anthropocene is a new graduate training initiative at Arizona State University.  Please contact me if you're interested in joining!