Satellite image of tornado track over western Massachusetts from NASA's Earth Observatory

Satellite image of tornado track over western Massachusetts from NASA's Earth Observatory

 

Interdisciplinary Research

I've been an interdisciplinarian since high school when I realized I was torn between two subjects: English and microbiology. I spent my time studying for both until I entered college and added a third interest: psychology. Split between these three areas, I came up with a plan. I double majored in English and Psychology and got a minor in microbiology. The deciding factors? My love of the history of psychology and, of course, poetry. 

Since then, I've focused on creative nonfiction as a way to encompass my many interests, using the genre as a vehicle to explore different topics from weather to family history. This trend of interdisciplinarity continues in my Ph.D. work in STS where I find the combination of philosophy, history, and sociology, among other disciplines, invigorating and satisfying.  

Part of my interest in interdisciplinarity extends to my funding line, which comes from a fellowship in a Virginia Tech initiative called Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program, or IGEP. My specific interest is in remote sensing technologies--satellites, Doppler radar, and areal photography--and the socialpolitical and ethical nature of its history and use today. Much of my work in this area includes the policy implications of emerging technologies. 

  • What are the policy implications of drone technology for weather research, for example?
  • How might satellites be used to monitor ongoing recovery from disasters? Who ought to have access to this information? 
  • How might participatory GIS and other crowd-sourced maps supplement and reveal gaps in official government maps?