Hey! My name is Kellen Cooks and I will be a research student for Team Stream this summer! I am originally from Ossining, NY, and I am currently a third-year studying Urban and Regional Studies at Cornell University. I am a McNair Scholar, currently developing and imagining a research project focused on the history and potential of spatial imaginations in the Hudson Valley of New York, from the Hudson River School of the 1800s to the present and future. Beyond my research, academically I am interested in all things geography, cartography, housing, science/speculative fiction, and the politics of land. Outside of class, I love drawing maps, singing R&B & soul music, rooting for the Knicks, and hanging out with friends and family!
Personally, I am really interested in amplifying communities’ narratives and claims of land and space that go against American conventional currents of settler colonialism and white supremacy, and the importance of such narratives in the process of decolonizing our land. REU SLAWR stood out as a chance to learn about Minnesota indigenous cultures’ connections with land through natural resources/agriculture, and about how deeply nature and agriculture can act as connectors between humans and land, beyond property deeds and real estate. I’m also excited as this project seems like a mix between humanities and environmental science, so I can’t wait to be a bit uncomfy with all of the lab work, while also utilizing a holistic approach of science and story to work to protect tribal resource sovereignty.