Miðhraun, Iceland

I am a scientist, educator, & adviser broadly trained in ecology and evolutionary biology, with research and pedagogical interests in the Calumet region, urban ecology, novel ecosystems, benefits of urban greenspace, plant diversity and local adaptation, spontaneous urban vegetation, vegetation community assemblage, environmental justice, Indigenous land management practices and traditions, ecological genetics, history of ecology.

I teach undergraduates at University of Chicago, mostly majoring in Environmental and Urban Studies, through the Program on the Global Environment, and have a small research program focused on plant communities that develop and persist despite the harsh conditions of post-industrial urban landscapes.

I am an advocate for greenspace in the Calumet region and advise organizations on environmental research and community engagement. I live to tromp through the hidden places between railroads and steel mills and am inspired by the tough flora that thrive in novel ecosystems. The history of land use in this region tells the story of humans, industries, and cultures -- teaching in the Calumet Quarter is a highlight of my biennium.

Click below to see a recent feature in Medicine on the Midway about

Chicago's urban ecology, plus my own teaching and research!


January 2022: Named a fellow in inaugural Faculty Pedagogy Fellows program at UChicago.
October 2021: Collaborator Maddie McLeester presented pilot results of Wisconsin fields at the Midwest Archaeology Conference.
October 2021: Led Chicago Studies Urban Hike to Beaubien Woods.
August 2021: Fieldwork on the Wisconsin fields project with collaborators Maddie McLeester, Jeff Grignon and Pete Geraci. Honored to visit and hold space in sacred places on Menominee land.
June-August 2021: Mentored student research assistants for tree ecosystem services project for EF Campus.
April 2021: In celebration of Earth Day, had a discussion with conservation ecologist Erika Hasle about the Field Museum's Monarch Butterfly community science program.
February 2021: With Lauren Umek, led discussion on restoration potential of slag at Calumet Restoration Roundtable.
November 2020: Featured along with Chicago's urban ecology in Medicine on the Midway!
--More news and events--