I am a MS student working with Dr. Erin Seekamp in equitable and sustainable tourism. My interest is in learning how to conduct meaningful research that can help positively impact local populations in tourism destinations as well as minimize the negative impact of the tourism industry on natural resources. More specifically, I am interested in coastal areas regarding tourism and climate change adaptation planning because not only are natural and cultural coastal resources in jeopardy from climate change and overuse, but resources in these areas are imperiled by the larger tourism industry. For coastal communities especially, it is essential to plan now for the inevitable impacts on communities’ resources, lest we not have any resources left to manage. I imagine a world in which the impact of tourism on local communities is beneficial rather than destructive. I believe that, rather than allowing tourism enterprise to disrupt and further impoverish local populations and lands, tourism should be a collaborative effort between these local populations, governing authorities, and visitors alike.
Who has been influential to you?
Where to begin? I suppose I should start with my parents and their unwavering love and support throughout both good and bad times in my life. I appreciate that they never for one second allowed me to think that I couldn’t do anything that I wanted. Andrew, my boyfriend and partner of 6 years, has been very influential and instrumental in helping me keep it together throughout all challenges, both academic and otherwise; I want to thank him for always reminding me that I am good at what I’m doing and that I will be OK even when I think I am terrible and everything is impossible.
I was also very lucky to have several professors who were highly influential and helpful throughout my undergraduate career. I want to thank Dr. Bill Wormsley, my undergraduate advisor, for always providing academic and emotional support. I want to thank Dr. Matt Watson for pushing me out of my comfort zone and overall making me a better student and writer. I especially want to thank Dr. Tim Wallace, my “unofficial” undergraduate advisor who helped me discover my true passion for tourism research. I truly do not think I could have “found my way” without him.
In my career I hope to work, in a research role, for any of the various local, state, or federal tourism agencies, the National Park Service, UNESCO, WTO, NGOs, etc. Essentially, wherever I end up, I hope that my research would contribute to a sustainable and collaborative treatment of tourism that is sensitive to both natural and cultural resources.
Previous Degrees and Where I Received These Degrees
I received my AA from Wake Technical Community College in 2010, which included a hodge-podge of credits from high school dual enrollment and AP classes.
I received my BA in Anthropology from North Carolina State University in December 2012, graduating Summa Cum Laude and first in my department, which was a far cry from almost failing to graduate from high school!
“Words of Wisdom” for Prospective Students
If you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, I guarantee you are not the only one. Talk to other students about it; talk to your advisor or professors. Even if you feel alone, know that you are not.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, I cannot overemphasize the importance of stepping outside and taking some deep breaths to clear your mind. It sounds simple, but it works wonders.
My Leisure Interests
My number one leisure interest is travel (whether close to home or far away), especially to the beach! Absorbing and learning about local culture is a big part of what I love about traveling. I enjoy spending time outside whether at a park, in the woods, or even just enjoying a meal at a table outside. I really love gardening, and do my best with my limited gardening space – my house has recently become home to a variety of awesome succulents. Summer means attempting to grow vegetables in containers. I also make and sell small terrariums. When it’s cold I enjoy curling up with some hot tea and knitting. One of my very favorite things to do is cook, especially when cooking for others.