Michelle's research is at the intersection of human-environment (or nature-society) geography and climate science. Her dissertation research explores adaptive capacity to climate change in human-environment systems of the Arctic. She gives special attention to the ways this can be modeled and mapped in collaboration with residents of remote, coastal, subsistence communities. Future work will extend this analysis of adaptive capacity to tropical and temperate climates to better gauge the role of risk perception and landscape valuation across latitudes and boundaries.
She holds a Master’s in Geography, specializing in natural resource management, and a graduate certificate in watershed studies and management from The State University of New York at Binghamton. She also holds a Bachelor’s in Geography, concentrating in environmental studies from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently working towards her dual Ph.D. in Geography and Climate Science at The Pennsylvania State University.
Prior to her doctoral studies, she was a private consultant and research assistant at the Hazards and Climate Impacts Research Center. While there, she collaborated with faculty, students, and disaster management experts to update county-level all-hazard mitigation plans. Prior to this, she worked as a senior researcher at the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies creating comprehensive storm surge maps for Connecticut's coast.
As a result of nearly a decade working in the fields of geography, disaster management, and related disciplines, she holds technical expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), land surveying, water quality analysis, and qualitative analysis of interviews, focus groups, and surveys; bringing her to United States, Iceland, South Africa, and northern Europe.