Idaho State University
My work is motivated by a deep desire to understand the impact that humans are having on the natural environment. Growing up in rural Maryland, I saw the woodlands and fields of my youth transform into housing developments, watched the growth of the nutrient-induced ‘dead zone’ within the Chesapeake Bay, and witnessed forests become infested with exotic pests. Determined to learn about the ecological consequences of such changes, I went to Cornell University to study Natural Resource Management and Applied Ecology. In 2004, I became a first-generation college graduate, with a B.S. degree and Distinction in Research based on my studies of the ecological repercussions of invasive water chestnut in New York waterways. I then went to work as a research assistant at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado, where I studied mutualistic interactions between ants and bugs in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. Using the wealth of natural history knowledge that I gained in Colorado, I next attended graduate school at Florida State University to study the community-level effects of mutualistic interactions and how ecological dynamics are affected by nitrogen pollution, which was funded by a fellowship from the US Environmental Protection Agency. I graduated with my Ph.D. in 2014 and then held two postdoctoral positions (University of Colorado Boulder; Middle Tennessee State University) during which I studied how changes in climate impact ecological communities in California annual grasslands and cedar glade grasslands of Tennessee. I joined ISU’s biology faculty as a Visiting Assistant Professor in August, 2019 and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2021. I am excited to continue research in the Intermountain West.