Letter to the Editor

Brittany Davis

Letters to the Editor are typically placed on the Opinion page, but the original article was published on the Science page.

Dear Ms. Spadaro and Mr. Stephenson,

I recently read the newspaper article profiling the three new hires made by the Department of Environmental Science. As I read the article, I was disappointed to find that I was absent from the piece. Unfortunately, I was not given the same opportunity as my colleagues to speak to a reporter about my research or my excitement about coming to this campus. Had the reporter contacted me, I’m sure we could have found a mutually agreeable time for an interview. I remain open to doing so should the opportunity arise.

In particular, I am disappointed that my research and interests were not clearly explained in The Campus. Given that I am new and that this will be all many people know about me, this was a missed opportunity to explain the unique perspective I bring to our department’s work. To provide some background, like Ben Haywood, I am trained as a geographer. My research focuses on human dimensions if natural resource management in general and marine conservation, local environmental knowledge, and tourism in particular. I bring a focus on coastal and marine ecosystems, especially tropical coral reefs, which is an area that the other Environmental Science faculty do not cover. This may be of interest to some students but, unfortunately, it was not conveyed. Instead, the original article misrepresented my interests, expressing them as “political and social ecology and ecotourism.”

In the future, I hope that writers for The Campus work to profile all professors equally in an article, rather than focusing on two out of three new hires. The minimal attention paid to my work in the article may imply to readers that my research is either uninteresting or unimportant. This is not the case. I am doing innovative, exciting work both in the classroom and in my research. I would welcome the opportunity to explain to the Allegheny community what it is I do research and teach about and why students might find that interesting.
Thank you for reading this. I would appreciate a response to my concerns.

Dr. Brittany Y. Davis
Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Science