I am excited to be working toward my PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology at the University of Louisville in the lab of Dr. Sarah Emery. I am interested in increasing the survivability of native plants and trees in urban and natural area restorations and preventing the (re)establishment of invasive species by utilizing mycorrhizal fungi as a soil amendment.
I graduated with a Master of Science degree in Biology focused on Ecology from Western Kentucky University in 2022. My graduate studies examined the importance of native plants, the environmental and human health impacts of invasive plants, and their role in the spread of ticks and tick-borne diseases.
I am interested in plant community ecology including both native and invasive plants, their ecological impacts, and their importance for biodiversity and habitat restoration. My interests lie at the intersection of plant and urban ecology and include utilizing habitat restoration and green infrastructure to mitigate flooding, reduce pollution, and provide an avenue for climate change adaptation.
I am an experienced environmental science educator and science communicator dedicated to sustainability, environmental justice, and STEM accessibility. I began teaching science in public schools in 2010 because I wanted to make a difference by teaching my students about the incredible biodiversity of our planet and how to protect and conserve it. In that time, I have taught elementary, middle, and high school students in addition to teaching professional development for teachers. I have taught life, earth, and environmental science, health science, and engineering and design courses. I have led thousands of students through the process of experimental design, habitat restoration projects, conducting biodiversity surveys, measuring air and water quality, and examining environmental justice issues in our community. My students and I have participated in a wide variety of community science programs and designed our own. As an expert in science education, I have participated in National Science Foundation-funded science education research, served as a mentor for new STEM teachers, and participated in the design and implementation of an NGSS-aligned K-12 science curriculum for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY that was used by 96,000 students in 169 schools. I also have experience developing curricula and programming in nontraditional educational environments.
I have been a professional photographer for many years and I love to use my skills to draw attention to the beauty of nature and the environmental problems facing our planet. I believe that science communication, whether sharing images that highlight the beauty of the natural world, creating fun videos, or sharing complex information in easy-to-understand language, plays an important role in educating and engaging the public about conservation and scientific discovery.
I am passionate about environmental protection, conservation, and climate change advocacy. I spend my free time outdoors visiting nature preserves and National Parks with my partner Brandon and learning about the incredible biodiversity of plants and animals and the unique ecosystems at each place I visit. I love to go camping, hiking, and kayaking whenever possible.
I have a ten-year-old Australian Shepard mix named Dakota who accompanies me on adventures. She loves hiking, sleeping in tents, and curling up next to a campfire, but is still a little unsure about kayaking.