Sustainability Transitions

My research focuses on sustainability transitions at the intersection of technology and society. Through my work, I aim to support communities and prepare students to participate in building a more sustainable, resilient, and just future through socio-technological transitions.

research projects

Sociology of Solar Technology

Solar technology development faces different challenges at different scales and in different places.

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FEWCON Household Study

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with household consumption through conservation of direct and indirect energy use.

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Exploring the social, cultural, and technological dimensions of energy system transitions on several levels.

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Creating a resilient electricity grid by linking social inequality with electricity infrastructure to correct technological failures.

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Sloan Home Electrification

Identify the barriers and opportunities associated with electrification of heating and cooling systems, in rural northern climates.

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Assessing impacts of current energy systems and potential drivers for transitions that support public health.

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About Me

As a Professor of Sociology at Michigan Technological University (MTU),  my research focuses on the sociology of technological transitions to support a more sustainable, resilient, and socially just future. My work is motivated by the belief that technologies we use in daily life perpetuate particular social relationships and relationships among humans and the more-than-human beings with whom we share this planet with. The work is guided by the interest in promoting technological transitions that decrease exploitation and increase regeneration for human and more-than-human communities.

Most recently, I secured a $1.25M award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a project on analysis of energy transition in underserved communities.  I'm serving as the lead investigator on the project titled "Drivers of Energy Service Transitions and Impacts on Well-being in Forest Dependent Rural Communities." It is funded under the EPA program Drivers and Environmental Impacts of Energy Transitions in Underserved Communities.

I completed my PhD in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My dissertation looked at the historical normalization of the technologies currently used to support residential dwelling and the potential for alternative technologies to support changes in how societies are organized to meet human needs and comforts. The research was funded by an NSF-IGERT Fellowship and an EPA-STAR Fellowship and explored how individuals choose to pursue alternative dwelling technologies from residential solar panels to life choices in intentional communities.

My academic training is grounded in social theory and science and technology studies. You can see more about my work and publications on my CV available here

Links to my academic profiles

My life and work is based in the traditional and contemporary homelands of what is now called the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, a sovereign nation of the Anishinaabe Ojibwe. As a resident of this land, it is my responsibility to honor the original inhabitants of this land, who now share this space with the descendants of settler colonizers (like me) who dominate the Michigan Tech campus. It is also my responsibility to actively work to restore right relationships among humans and the more-than-human beings with whom we share this earth, including the original and contemporary Indigenous peoples who live on this land.