Beginning fall 2014, I became the Director (chair) of the Environmental Studies Program at Bucknell University.
In summer 2016, I was elected as next president of the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS). My term as president will be Nov. 2017-2018 and as president-elect I began my three year term on the executive committee in Nov. 2016. Previously, I served on the Executive Board of CESS from 2011-2014. For CESS I founded and served as the Editor of The CESS Blog, a new portal for summarizing and disseminating research about the Central Eurasian region. We launched the CESS Blog March 2013. Here’s the page with my blog pieces.
Since 1999, I have served as an OSCE-ODIHR or National Democratic Institute (NDI) short-term election observer 8 times: Kyrgyzstan National Referendum (July 2010); Georgian Presidential election (Jan. 2008); Ukrainian Presidential elections 2nd Round (Nov. 2004) & Re-run of the 2nd Round (Dec. 2004); Georgian Presidential election (Jan. 2004); Georgian Presidential election (April 2000); and 1st & 2nd Rounds of the Georgian Parliamentary elections (Oct. & Nov. 1999).
From 2002-2005, I was co-owner & President of an eco-tourism company, Wet Feet Adventures, which operated in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana. With the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy, our main destination, we were no longer able to operate. However, during our three years in operation, we led tours focusing on education and sustainable philanthropic travel, which included: book & supply donation to a remote village elementary school (coordinating with eco-clubs, & securing donated bush flights and jeep delivery space); stayed in community or NGO-owned accommodations whenever possible, including a Bulawayo AIDS-camp; focused on low-impact activities, e.g. canoeing and walking safaris; encouraged responsible souvenirs/gift purchasing; provided daily language, ecological, and cultural lessons for our travelers; and coordinated with scientists studying the impacts of tourism on wildlife, e.g. lion population monitoring in Chube, Botswana. In all, we sought to minimize the negative impacts of travel, maximize the bi-directional educational benefits and community engagement, and provide needed supplies to people in remote locations where adventure tourist go but transport vehicles are infrequent. We were recognized for our sustainability efforts and our role in the “Travelers Philanthropy” movement by TIES, The International Eco-tourism Society.
My previous professional and volunteer work includes: serving as Academic Coordinator for the Caucasus region (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) for the Civic Education Project (1999-2000); working as a volunteer Correspondent & Program Assistant for Global Green USA in Venice Beach, CA (1997-98) and as a Research Assistant for Water Strategist, Inc. in Claremont, CA (1997-1998). As a graduate student, I was a research assistant for Dr. Craig Volden, a writing consultant and teaching assistant for the Claremont Graduate University Writing Center, and served on the diversity committee for the university. As an undergraduate student at Syracuse University, I worked for PennPIRG (1992), volunteered/interned for Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) (1994), interned with the Atlantic States Legal Foundation (1994-95), and volunteered for the organization For the Children of Chernobyl in Minsk, Belarus (1995-96)