I was born in Richmond, Virginia, and like most children, I loved to play outside. My mom was always sending me back to the creek by our house to return the minnows, tadpoles, salamanders, crayfish etc that I would bring home. Not knowing there were fields outside of veterinary medicine for people interested in animals, I worked at vet clinics growing up and was convinced I would one day be a veterinarian. However, when I got to college, I heard about “wildlife sciences” and decided that I am more interested in conservation than in medicine! So, I switched my major and have never looked back!
After earning my undergraduate degree in 2011, I remained at Virginia Tech for one year, working on several projects within the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Then, I accepted a Masters position at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. There, I studied the relationship between birds, ticks, and urbanization. I had the privilege of working hands-on with wild birds every week and very much enjoyed the field work!
During the last year of my Masters degree, I received the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program award. Knowing how much I loved Virginia Tech and how amazing the College of Natural Resources and the professors are, I decided to return to the mountains to study shorebirds for my dissertation. I am currently in the 3rd year of my program and hope to pursue a post doctorate program upon the completion of my dissertation.
Ultimately, I aspire to work for either the government or a non-governmental agency, where I can combine my research, teaching, and service/outreach interests.