I am a PhD student at the University of Maine in the Spatial Information Science and Engineering Program. My research interests include spatial and temporal data integration and uncertainty. You might ask why anyone should care, and my response to that is data integration and uncertainty need to be investigated to accurately propose solutions to present and future problems.
Every field has their own way of collecting information to answer questions they find relevant. The problem with field-specific methods is that real-life issues often require the perspective of multiple fields to provide sensible resolutions. More and more I'm finding studies that attempt to tackle real-life issues by using an assortment of methods to cobble together information from multiple fields - all of which approach the same issue in drastically different ways. It's kind of like quilting. You've got all of these squares that have different patterns, but when properly stitched together, they combine to form a blanket that's useful for something... But lets say you follow a particular pattern and assume it's correct - how do you know what you created is what's intended if you didn't know you were making a blanket in the first place? When cobbling together information from multiple fields, one typically does not know what the result should look like, or have a comparison handy. Quantifying the uncertainty in collected information and ensuring it's represented opens up the interpretation of results and gives you some understanding of how precise and accurate your predictions actually are.
Nothing is ever perfect and there is error or noise in all collected information. We're simply not (and probably will never be) at a point where you can say something is XY or Z with 100% certainty (was the dress blue or gold?). This is troublesome when information is conveyed as being 100% certain to make people feel confident in a proposed solution. It's better to have some estimate of the certainty in a proposed solution than relying on it completely. For instance - lets say I just happened to be on a distant planet in a sci-fi universe, freezing cold and staring into a warm cave that may or may not have things in it that will eat me. I know from some early reports that a large carnivore is very likely to be in that cave - should I enter? Well, that's entirely up to how sensitive I am to the cold versus how likely I am to being eaten. We weigh risks and benefits daily, but usually on a less life-threatening basis. Why shouldn't the solutions to larger (and often more complex) social-ecological issues also include this treatment?
So enough about research interests, how about more personal things!
Do you like cats? Because I have two cats. I started with Thor - he's a grey and white and doesn't appreciate it when you touch him. Only he can touch you. He's lived in California, the Virgin Islands, and now Maine. About eight years later I got a kitten and my partner named him Bumi (bonus points if you know where this name is from). He's got patches of white and brown with black tiger stripes. Someone once asked me how I was coping with the distance between my partner and I, my response was that I got a kitten.
While we were living in the Virgin Islands, we decided we wanted to go back and pursue our PhDs (we met during our Masters). He ended up at the University of Alberta studying Wood bison and I ended up in Maine. Long distance sucks, but it's a temporary predicament for a permanent future we'll both be happy with.
So yes, two cats. I keep telling people that Bumi is the dumb one of the two, to which they reply that he's, "only a kitten." But I insist - Thor was and has always been too smart for his own good. I think that's why he's such a prickly and socially awkward cat. Bumi will jump into glass multiple times in a row, seemingly under the impression that one of the times the glass won't be there and he won't hurt his head anymore. I think he takes everything as a personal challenge. Even though they're super annoying, I don't regret having them at all. It's almost like they're too annoying not to love, so I'm not sure what that says about me.
Also, did I mention Roller Derby? If you haven't tried it, you should try it, because DERBY LIFE!
I attended three elementary schools, one middle school, and three high schools from Alaska to California. Moving was in part due to growing up as a military brat, but mostly due to family. I spent most of k-12 in Alaska and moved to California a few years after high school to finish up my bachelors in Anthropology with a minor in Geospaital Science, a second bachelors in Environmental Science with the Geospatial Sciences option, and my masters. My masters thesis focused on Uncertainty in Habitat Suitability Modeling. I was immediately hired as a Spatial and GIS Analyst at the University of the Virgin Islands and worked there for about a year and a half with the Institute for Geocomputational Analysis and Statistics (GeoCAS) and the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies (CMES).