Original Link :

http://avantika.strikingly.com/

Please tell us about yourself

To me, ‘geography’ has served as a tool to understand complex interconnections in the world. Geography has provided a lens to acknowledge and appreciate the interactions among the world’s natural and human-cultural components.

My research explores the perception of risk with respect to oil and natural gas development in communities in Kansas and Oklahoma and ties the role of attachment to place, and sustainable development. More specifically, it explores the opinions, knowledge, attitude and perceptions of local communities towards technological advances such as fracking, and help identify channels of effective risk communication. I use sequential mixed method approach, informal interviews, mail questionnaire and focus group discussion, in an effort to investigating the problem using quantitative method supported by qualitative inquiry.

Viewing the world through geographic lens places me in a unique position. Among my colleagues, I have been fortunate to be an outlier. I was born in a society where gender duties and roles are bound by expectations and rules. I grew up in a progressive family that challenged these societal expectations. I was given the liberty to pursue a career of my own choice and the freedom to study for it far from home. I make sure I use this opportunity with responsibility.

What did you study?

I did my Master’s (M.Sc., Geography) from University of Pune and another Master’s (Geographical Information Science) from University of Edinburgh.

Tell us about your research

My research expertise are the area of nature-society interaction, mixed methods research, statistical and GIS techniques, qualitative, and rural geography and sustainability.

My current research with Dr. Bimal Paul explores the perception of risk with respect to oil and natural gas development in communities in Kansas and Oklahoma and ties the role of attachment to place, and sustainable development. More specifically, it explores the opinions, knowledge, attitude and perceptions of local communities toward technological advances such as fracking, and helps identify channels of effective risk communication. I am using sequential mixed method approach, informal interviews, mail questionnaire and focus group discussion, in an effort to investigate the problem using quantitative method supported by qualitative inquiry. I am using Psychometric Paradigm and Cultural Theory while building on Sjӧberg’s model of risk perception and weaving into it additional factors of attachment to place and perceptional and behavioral geography in an attempt to improve place specific perceptions of risk. This work has enhanced my theoretical and analytical skills as well as refined my fieldwork techniques. I hope to present my work at national and international conferences.

What kind of work do you do as a Geographer?

As a GIS (Geographical Information System)  Engineer at Xenolith Geoservices, GIS was my window to the world of commercial GIS. I worked at Xenolith in two phases. As a fresh graduate student from the University of Pune, I joined Xenolith as a GIS engineer. I was involved in training young professionals and undergraduate students coming from different educational backgrounds in GIS, GPS handling. I was also responsible for their professional training and preparing them for the industry.

I worked with computer literate urban students as well as technologically challenged rural students. My class was an open environment where I learned from my students and tried to teach them. I can proudly say that many of my students are now working in companies in Pune using their GIS skills.

My second phase of working with Xenolith Geoservices was after returning from the UK on finishing my Masters in Geographical Information Science. This time, I worked on government projects at Xenolith. One was a large Government project while the second was county-based taxation project. Both these opportunities helped me understand the professional world of Indian GIS market.