Betsy's research is on multi-jurisdictional fisheries policy with a focus on improving democratic processes through more effective stakeholder engagement. Her dissertation looks at aquaculture in the Great Lakes region, using qualitative social science methods to understand stakeholder perceptions of risk around fish farm facilities.
Betsy's childhood on an Angus cattle ranch in Poteau, Oklahoma, as well as her close ties to her mother's family in Iowa, has closely shaped her ideas and values surrounding resource use and human kind's interaction with the the natural world. Despite her rural upbringing, she has always had an insatiable curiosity about the larger world, leaving to study abroad in France at age 16, and then moving out to Massachusetts as soon as her high school diploma hit her hand. It wasn't until the University of Michigan, however, that she discovered her love of fisheries.
After working for two years at the US. Geological Survey's Great Lakes Science Center, she realized the direction her studies had taken would inevitably turn her steps from Wolverine to Spartan to take advantage of MSU's amazing Fisheries and Wildlife Department.