I was raised in India's Western Ghats, a mountainous region covered with tropical forest. Like his father before him, my father was a forester at the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. My family was involved in forest management, wildlife research, conservation, and sustainability of the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve for more than six decades. Through inspiration spawned by my family’s forest conservation and management work, my formal academic training in ecology, biology and geospatial sciences, and my research and teaching experience in the United States, India and Central America, I could hardly fail to become interested in the nexus of forestry, wildlife, indigenous people, and ecological issues.
Providing outstanding classroom, field/laboratory exercises, and applied Environmental/Geospatial research experiences are hallmarks of my teaching. I aim to contribute to a learning atmosphere that is intellectually challenging and empowers students to be ethically responsible citizens and professionals. As a person of color from a rural Indian village and the first in my family to attend college, I understand firsthand some of the challenges faced by students from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. I am very passionate about advancing the core values of leadership, engagement, diversity, and sustainability through my classes. My own 11 years of undergraduate and graduate teaching and research experience at liberal arts colleges and universities instilled a deep appreciation for the value of the experiential learning.
My research interests revolve around traditional hands-on field landscape ecology combined with geospatial technologies to address resource management problems. I use this approach to take advantage of the power of geospatial analysis, and to include the landscape ecological reality of organisms under natural field conditions and human society’s interactions with the environment. My research encompasses many aspects of the environment, ranging from biogeography of eastern hemlocks and spatial distribution of wildland fire across the landscape, to climate influence on infectious diseases, and butterfly biodiversity habitat suitability. I have strong commitments to interdisciplinary approaches to environmental, geographical and biological science research questions.
- Postdoctoral Fellow: Organismic and Evolutionary Biology , Harvard University
- Ph.D.: Geospatial Science & Engineering (Specialization: Remote Sensing Geography & Forest Fire Ecology) , South Dakota State University
- Master of Arts: Biological Sciences (Specialization: Plant Ecology) , Smith College
- Bachelor of Science: Field Ecology (self-designed), University of Vermont