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Department of Sociology
Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Rarick Hall 349
Phone: 785-628-5840
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Sean Keenan, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor

Sean Keenan is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Sociology and an environmental analyst for BIO-WEST, Inc. While he spent most of his "growing up" years in Colorado, Sean is actually a native of Dodge City, Kansas! Sean and his wife, Jen Levy, live in Logan, Utah. They enjoy skiing, hiking, and other outdoor recreation.

Sean completed a Ph.D. in sociology at Utah State University in 2000. His research interests concerned rural development and innovation, particularly issues concerning economic dependence of communities on natural resources and agriculture. These interests led to a fellowship at Oklahoma State University from 2002 to 2006 where Sean worked with the USDA Agricultural Research Service on a program to promote innovative pest management practices for farmers.

Upon returning to Utah in 2006, Sean found employment with BIO-WEST, Inc. Most projects with BIO-WEST are concerned with implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As the company name suggests, most of the work is concerned with biological and natural sciences. That means that Sean has the opportunity to work with biologists, physical scientists, engineers, geographers, and environmental planning specialists on a daily basis! Typical projects involve planning for avoidance and mitigation of impacts from development due to various types of infrastructure-like roads, highways, power lines, and water treatment facilities.

However, NEPA is a "procedural" law, the spirit of which is to maintain and enhance the "quality of the human environment." Thus, "environmental quality" includes the social and economic environments in addition to cultural, historical, and natural surroundings. An important area of this work at the present time is "environmental justice," which is concerned with impacts of development on minority and low income populations.

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