I have always had a passion for wildlife and wild places. Thanks in part to PBS, David Attenborough and childhood visits to zoos and wildlife parks, understanding how organisms sense and interact with the world has always fascinated me.
During my PhD education I came to recognize that my interest in biology could be summed up in one word, biodiversity – life in all its incredulous forms. "There is grandeur in this view of life….from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”-Charles Darwin. I pursued this interest in my dissertation by studying the formation of biodiversity via speciation.
Through this education I gained valuable genetic tools that can aid in conserving biodiversity. For instance, genetic methods enable us to: prioritize populations for conservation by discovering genetically distinct populations, establish how anthropogenic (human made) disturbances impact wildlife populations, identify products from endangered or threatened species that are being moved through the wildlife trade (wildlife forensics), monitor ecosystem health through genetic barcoding to assess community composition, and detect rare or invasive species through environmental DNA.
Finally, I am strongly committed to education and outreach. As a scientist, we need to make our research and findings accessible to everyone because science outreach leads to a more informed and invested public. During graduate school I participated and organized several science outreach events. Throughout my career, I hope to continue to share my research and my love of science with the public. "In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” -Baba Dioum When not enjoying science, you can find me either attempting different styles of horseback riding, participating in various styles of dance, training myself in agility (my dog already has it down) or just hanging around (preferably from two aerial silks).