“If I gain knowledge I have everything.  If a friend gives me knowledge, he gives riches.  The friend who gives you wisdom is the one that loves you.”

Muchinda Madzoke (Mr. Magwisanye), as translated by Adnomore Chirindira

I am passionate about the use of knowledge to support and empower people, especially people who typically don’t have a voice in science or in environmental management.  The quote from Mr. Magwisanye beautifully sums up the way I feel about teaching and outreach: knowledge should be a gift, something that helps someone, and something that is given freely.

Melissa_tree

I am currently a visiting scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Science and Justice Research Center and Sociology Department.

My scholarship sits at the intersection of data science, participatory action research, and critical social science. This combination is relevant and timely as data science becomes an increasingly dominant way to know about both society and the environment we depend on. Allowing this trend to continue without critical evaluation, especially in conservation and natural resources science, could very easily lead to reinforcing structural injustice and environmental degradation. Interdisciplinary study is essential in these situations, and only becoming more so.

As a data scientist, I employ a variety of ecoinformatic tools to understand and improve the sustainability of complex social-ecological systems, often using multi-decadal legacy data.  I am also working to apply Science and Technology Studies to my modeling processes in order to make social-ecological system management more just.  I prefer to work collaboratively with communities on modeling, both teaching mapping and modeling skills as well as analyzing and synthesizing community-held data as appropriate. At the same time, I look for ways to create space for qualitative and other forms of knowledge to reside alongside quantitative analysis, using mixed and integrative methods.

You can find out more here about my professional work. For the condensed version, see my list of publications; for a little more detail, you can find narratives describing most of those projects under Research, Outreach, and Teaching.

I also have profiles on Google Scholar, GitHub, CoMSES.netAcademia.edu, ResearchGate, and LinkedIn.

(This site describes my academic research, outreach, and teaching.  For my private tutoring business, see Solera Individualized Learning.)