I’m originally from a small town in Western NY state know as Bemus Point. Coming from an area that is so rich in nature, my interest in biology was fostered at a very early age. A majority of my childhood was spent in the woods or out on Chautauqua Lake.
I completed my undergraduate degree at Grove City College, a small liberal arts school 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, PA. In such an intimate school setting, I was able to develop strong relationships with my professors, who nurtured both my academic and research interests in biology. I majored in both biology and education (k-12), and was able to student teach for a semester at the high school level.
During the summer months as an undergraduate, I worked as a naturalist at Allegany State Park, where I helped develop educational programs for the park’s patrons. This allowed me to continue both my biological and pedagogical training while having fun out on the trails.
After graduation, I was awarded a paid internship at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. My work at this site focused on the demographic differences between native and invasive populations of Rhithropanopeus harrisii (mud crabs). I met a lot of great researchers at the Smithsonian and had a great time learning how to be a 24/7 scientist.
My graduate career took me to Georgetown University, where I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Edward Barrows. Georgetown afforded me many amazing opportunities, both in research and teaching and mentoring other students. Thanks to a few research grants, I was able to spend many summer months at the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm collecting data on pollination patterns. I also had the opportunity to team teach undergraduate courses with some amazing faculty, bring science into inner-city schools, and even teach a course on computational biology for government officials.
Currently, I am enjoying my instructor position at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, where I continue to develop my teaching methodologies and research program.
In my free time, I enjoy playing my ukulele, fiddling with R programming, reading endless pages on Wikipedia, and going for runs.