The root of my passion for nature began at a young age. Some of my earliest memories include bird watching with my mom and dissecting the mosses and lichens on the rocks outside my childhood home. As captain of the Envirothon competition team and president of science club in high school, I continued to cultivate a desire to work in the field of conservation. I completed Bachelor of Science degrees in Wildlife Biology and Natural Resources and minored in Plant Biology at the University of Vermont in May of 2011.
In 2009, I began working at the Pringle Herbarium and discovered, through this position, a desire to work in the field of botany. While working at the Pringle Herbarium, under the supervision of Dr. David Barrington, I began to develop an interest in nonvascular and vascular epiphytic plants. My budding interest led me to take part in Dr. Barrington’s tropical ecology field course in Costa Rica, where I learned a vast amount about tropical plant growth and morphology, pollination and dispersal, and forest succession. Furthermore, in 2010, I gained experience formulating and conducting an independent research project by participating in an REU ecology program at Harvard Forest, which I subsequently developed into my senior honors thesis. I soon recognized a zeal for conducting research and wanted to pursue further research opportunities via graduate work. My love of botany continued to grow, and I decided I would pursue botany research in graduate school.
In the spring of 2013, I completed a M.S. research assistantship in Dr. Tom A. Ranker’s
lab in the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Department of Botany. My
assistantship was funded as part of an NSF grant awarded to the Bernice
P. Bishop Museum to study the flora of Papua New Guinea. In exploring and learning more about
morphology and physiology of plants, I continued to develop a strong
desire to work in the canopy of trees, where many canopy dwelling plants
reside. This has led me to my current research pursuits in Dr. Nalini M. Nadkarni's lab at the University of Utah's Department of Biology.