I'm an environmental historian and I'm fascinated by regulatory policy. This wasn't my intention when I started graduate school. I thought I'd write about environmentalists and their corporate foes as they battled in Congress or in the public sphere over the fate of the country. But somewhere along the line, I realized that hardly anyone ever thought about another set of actors: the regulators standing in the background in every story. And as I read more and more memos and started interviewing former staff and officials at different agencies, it became clear to me that implementation and enforcement mattered as much or more than the underlying legislation in determining what controlling pollution looked like in the real world. I ended up writing my dissertation about the history of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and how new ideas like trading the right to pollute made their way from academic journals and think tanks into the rules that shape the air we breathe. I'm working on a book that tells EPA's story and describes the inflection of economic thought into environmental advocacy.
I teach courses on the environment, regulation, and United States history more generally as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University. These courses explore the development of capitalism from a variety of perspectives. My courses also examine the relationship between political, economic, social, and cultural shifts and changes in the physical landscape. When I was an undergrad at Lewis & Clark College, one of my favorite professors was also a yoga teacher and she liked to say that yoga was about pushing yourself right up to your breaking point and then getting stronger there. I don't do yoga, but I like the idea and try to apply it in my teaching, mostly by making my students study regulatory policy.