Like many of you, I love animals! How can I spend more time learning about animals? After a lot of exploration of various careers, I decided that I wanted to pursue research in animal behavior! As a behavioral ecologist, I get to spend my whole life learning about why animals do what they do!!
Instead of going to veterinary school (too much blood!), I earned my Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Indiana University. My research investigated the territorial aggression of the threespine stickleback, a great little fish from the northern hemisphere that has become a model organism for evolutionary biology!
After graduation, I put my past interests and education (my first undergraduate degree is in international studies from UNC-CH) together with my science education and worked as a Science and Diplomacy Fellow with the U.S. Agency for International Development. While I really enjoyed working to improve education around the world, ultimately I missed being in the classroom teaching biology and carrying out research on fish behavior.
Currently, I am an associate professor of biology at Bridgewater College, a small liberal arts college in Virginia. We have a strong program in biology and in environmental science. Our students go on to work as doctors, dentists, nurses, vets, laboratory technicians, water quality monitors, fisheries biologists, and more!