Academic interests: People's relationships with their natural environment, including both forest and agro-ecosystems, participatory development approaches, cultural change, decision-making theories, cultures of Southeast Asia and Africa
MA thesis title: Assessing Participatory Action Research: A Case Study from the Lao PDR
Previous degrees: MA (2004), Ohio University
BA (1998), San Francisco State University
Contact information: email@example.com (775) 682-7626
Biography: Michelle will undertake a year of research with farming villages in northern Laos (Lao PDR) beginning in June 2009. The research area is composed of three ethnic groups; Lao Loum, Khmu, and Hmong. Currently, a government-influenced agricultural transition is underway, encouraging farmers to change from subsistence based shifting cultivation to permanent cash crops. As a result, some farmers are deciding to adopt new agricultural practices while others are not. To understand why only some farmers are adopting new practices, farmers' decision-making processes will be studied. Michelle's dissertation research is being funded by the National Science Foundation and Rotary International.
Michelle was a Peace Corps Volunteer from Malawi, Africa where she did agro-forestry extension work. She has volunteered with the International Rice Research Institute in Laos, Americorps, and the Nevada Division of Wildlife. She is also an alumni of Semester at Sea. She speaks the tribal language of Chiyao and is currently studying the Lao language. She has published articles in various newsletters and given public lectures at a number of venues. Michelle combines her academic knowledge with her worldly experiences when teaching in the classroom. She teaches Anthropology 101 and 201 at the University.