I grew up in Allentown, New Jersey, on my parent's hobby sheep and vegetable farm. After pursuing an undergraduate degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development, I am now pursuing a double Masters at Iowa State. My majors are Anthropology and Sustainable Agriculture: I simplify the intersection of these two interests as ethnobotany.
I am currently involved in a multi-disciplinary project focused on the revitalization of the Native American cropping system, the Three Sisters. An emerging component of these efforts, and the focus of my graduate research, is the reintroduction of plant genetic material to the Indigenous communities who value them. This process of reintroduction has been coined as seed rematriation. My project's collaborating Native communities have identified historically and culturally significant corn, bean, and squash varieties that they would like to be reunited with. For my rematriation efforts, I have obtained the identified seeds from the USDA seed bank here in Ames, as well as from other donor organizations. These seeds are currently being grown in a culturally appropriate garden at the Horticultural Research Station.
My goals for after graduation include working with a seed bank or seed company much like the ones I have collaborated with to secure seeds for my research. I am interested in continuing rematriation work to reconnect farmers and growers with heirloom and culturally unique varieties. In my free time I enjoy reading, thrifting, and gardening.