Carmen Tedesco

Senior Spatial Planning and Development Specialist |

Carmen Tedesco became a geographer after finding other fields of study too limiting. “I was interested in infectious diseases, land management, and global climate change,” she said, “but wasn’t finding the right angle until I took my first geography course—then it all made sense.” Carmen has since earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography and now applies her skills in spatial analysis and planning to DAI’s work on environment and energy issues. “I’ve had some intense experiences—from volcano tracking at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, to having stern public debates with the U.S. Forest Service, to taking part in participatory mapping with young people all over the world,” she said.

Climate change adaptation is Carmen’s primary interest. From her fieldwork on the North Slope of Alaska and in Glacier National Park in Montana, to work in Bangladesh and the deserts of Tunisia, she has witnessed the direct impacts of climate change on diverse ecosystems and cultures. Carmen has served as a Designated Contact Point to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, leading delegations in Copenhagen, Bonn, and Cancun. As part of the Geographic Information System/Information and Communication Technology team at DAI, Carmen works with projects and proposal teams, serving as a geospatial coordinator, building buy-in, educating teams on the uses of geospatial tools, and conducting analysis. She also co-manages an online peer network of natural resource management practitioners—

  • M.A., geography, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • B.A., geography, Middlebury College
  • Founder, Vermont Development Network
  • Member: Association of American Geographers, American Geophysical Union, Society for International Development 

“For development work to succeed, it takes a solid understanding of the culture, history, and physical environment of a place, especially when dealing with problems with huge uncertainty, such as global climate change.”

— Carmen Tedesco