Kristen earned her B.A. in Biochemistry from Rice University in 1995.She then co-founded and managed Blink Interactive, an internet development company, in Atlanta, Georgia from 1995-2001. She served in the Peace Corps in Bolivia from 2002-2004 working in forest management with indigenous groups in the Bolivian lowlands in the BOLFOR project. She has since worked with organizations such as the Center for International Forestry Research, the Kyoto University Center for Integrated Area Studies, The Nature Conservancy, the UN-REDD Programme and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, working with communities in Bolivia, Peru, Vietnam, Germany, Nicaragua and the US. Kristen co-founded and managed Salvatierra Imports, a Bolivian forest community handicraft import business. Named an American Business Fellow in 2007, Kristen received a micro-enterprise fellowship to Bolivia financed by the United States Department of State and administered by Partners of the Americas.
From 2012-2014, Kristen designed and supervised the Art-to-Action program of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Art-to-Action embraced integrated approaches with diverse community partners to combine creative action, social media, storytelling, theater, video, journalism, visual art, dance, puppetry, music, street performance and interdisciplinary media for social change. The vision was to inform, engage and transform public dialogue about industrial pollution through art and creative communication in order to catalyze debate, mobilize citizen participation and shift the discourse to focus on health, safety and sustainability from a “business-as-usual” pollution problem. See the Art-to-Action gallery here.
She has published numerous book chapters as well as several peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Ecology and Society, Society and Natural Resources and S.A.P.I.EN.S. In 2011, she completed her master’s at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University, where her research focused on Latin American tropical forests, local livelihoods and community development.
Kristen is also co-founder and Executive Director of the New Orleans Fringe, a grassroots organization that presents the annual New Orleans Fringe Theater Festival and other arts events throughout the year. For her work with the Fringe, Kristen received the Bywater Award for Community Service, The Big Easy Special Recognition Award and The Sweet Arts Award, and she was recognized as Gambit’s 40 Under 40 in 2010.