How did being sent 100 feet up in the air to rescue an Osprey caught in fishing line in the top of a Norfolk Pine help me become a well-grounded victim advocate? How would founding a 501c3 non-profit animal rescue lead me to a supervisory level job in a county agency, running manufacturing efficiency analyses on veterinary services? My heart is neither still nor silent.
I grew up overseas, and graduated from an arts boarding high school near Boston. I earned an undergraduate degree in Visual Art and Art History at Barnard College, Columbia University in 2004 and with a worldly mind, a car and my dog, I set out to couch surf my way south as the fall grew colder. By winter, I planted my roots in Miami sand and never looked back. I opened Faktura Gallery in April 2005, a place to explore technically innovative artwork and counter-commodification concepts in contemporary art viewership and production. Constantly aware of larger social issues in my community and the need for a systematic approach to more humane human-nonhuman encounters, I also founded a grassroots 501c3 non-profit – No Paw Left Behind.
My interest in social science research began immediately upon my arrival to Miami. To quote my 2005 self, I’m interested in what nonhuman policies reveal about the larger structures of inequalities in Miami: regarding an art show featuring luscious portraits of road kill around the city, my photographs “romanticize the grim fate of many street animals in order to question the viewer about modern ironies, such as the tolerance of pain for beauty and the loss of everyday kindness in a high-speed world.” That art show was inspired by a specific situation, where an unwanted stray dog was hit by a car, and left to rot for weeks, within olfactory distance of one of Miami’s struggling low-income F-rated high schools. The smell or sight of such decomposition, degradation and death would not be tolerated in wealthier areas; the inequalities in the provision of public services can be told through such human-nonhuman entanglements.
After a decade of work with animal welfare nonprofits and one of the largest municipal kill shelters in the nation, I earned an MBA from Florida International University in 2014, and a Master of Veterinary Forensic Science at University of Florida in Spring 2017.
I am currently in the second year of the PhD program in GSS, and hold the title of president of the graduate student organization SAGGSA. My dissertation research combines big data analysis, efficiency studies, GIS mapping, policy strategies, issues regarding political transparency, and ethnography to explore the ways nonhuman interactions reflect and perpetuate inequalities in South Florida.