Current Vocation: 
Planner/Designer for Resilience Planning & Design LLC

What were you doing before you applied to the Conway School?
I applied to attend the Conway School while I was wrapping up my Bachelor’s degree program in central New Hampshire. At that point, I was fully invested in building a career in the ecological design field, obtaining my Permaculture Design Certificate and creating a self-designed undergraduate degree in Ecological Design. I spent the summer before Conway working for a sustainable agriculture research program in North Carolina.

What brought you to Conway?
Conway’s emphasis on problem solving, ecology, whole systems thinking, and truly learning to design WITH and inspired BY nature. I was also drawn to the “learning while doing” philosophy and that we engaged in “real-world” projects for clients throughout New England. Additionally, the tight-knit community, small class size, and introduction to a variety of design tools and methods attracted me to the program.

How did you first learn about Conway?
A former professor and mentor I had while getting my undergraduate degree told me about the program, knowing I wanted a self-directed graduate school experience that was radical in its approach; something different than the traditional design and planning paradigms being taught in many colleges.

Imagine we just met, and recognized we had common interests. How would you describe Conway to me?
Conway is for those who are willing to jump in the water, knowing that you have the support of your classmates and teachers, yet being fully aware that at the end of the day what we produce and decide to focus on is up to us. It is for those who consider themselves change-makers, social justice advocates, community organizers, earth healers, educators, and builders. The program brings together individuals of diverse backgrounds to work on meaningful projects that, because of the diversity represented, take on elegant lives of their own. You will constantly be learning – learning to challenge your own assumptions, learning to listen and to read the landscape, and learning to collaborate and communicate with other professionals, with your team mates, and with your clients.

What advice do you have for someone just starting out in the field?
Be patient, stay connected with your alumni network and other professional and personal circles, and SHOW UP. Show up as a volunteer, as a supporter, at a conference or event. Especially while you’re waiting and working towards that job you love.

What are you doing right now, and what do you love about it?
Right now I work for a small ecological design and community planning firm called Resilience Planning & Design. Currently, we have two full time staff, myself and my colleague who founded the firm. The work we do is for towns and cities, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individual property owners. We focus on creating multi-functional planning and design solutions that provide a range of benefits for clients from protecting and increasing green infrastructure networks – to creating a high-quality, resilient built environment – to increasing social capital. We work to promote regenerative development, sustainable land use patterns, and community and land stewardship through site design, comprehensive planning, and regulatory initiatives. I truly love what I do- I like that our projects are constantly changing, that they cover multiple scales and interrelated issues, and that the foundation of our work is place based and directly informed by the communities we serve. I also teach Community Planning and Permaculture courses at Plymouth State University as well. I love facilitating powerful learning experiences for my students and working with them together as we all embark on this journey of “deconstructing” the ways that we’ve been taught to live and see the world in our modern American culture.

List one or more books that you find influential in the field of ecological design and/or planning.
Edible Forest Gardens Vol. 1 and 2 by Dave Jacke.

What book changed your life?
So many to choose, but I’d say Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

What is your favorite tool? 
Felcos. Hori Hori knife. Tajima LC-650 Rock Hard Dial Lock Utility Knife. Papermate Flair Pens. External mouse.

How do you think ecological design and planning can help make positive change?
Bringing nature and ecosystem services into our built environment. Creating more resilient infrastructure, regenerative agriculture systems, and climate change action. Tackling issues of social equity and racial injustice through the design of our physical and social environments and co-creating participatory, engaging solutions.