Bachelor of Arts, Biological Sciences, Connecticut College, New London, CT (2013)
PhD Student, Ecology, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC (expected 2020)
I grew up in the small town of Narragansett, Rhode Island, which screams quintessential coastal New England with its postcard-quality seawall tracing the coast, tourists flooding the beaches in the summertime, and old friends greeting each other at the grocery store every Sunday morning. Living in Narragansett instilled in me a passion for the ocean, for I spent my summers playing in the shallow waters of the local beaches. Growing up in a small community enabled me to embark on field trips to the salt marsh or a local beach with enthusiastic teachers, whose passion for scientific inquiry inspired me and fueled my excitement for learning. I became fascinated with the natural world because it was a mystery I wanted to understand. This was the driving force behind my decision to study biological sciences during my undergraduate career.
While at Connecticut College, I participated in several research internships, presented a poster on marine invasive species genetics a national conference in comparative biology, enrolled in a Tropical Biology course that took me to Belize, learned to SCUBA dive, studied abroad in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, with CIEE, and became a leader in various environmental initiatives in my campus community.
Upon graduating from Connecticut College, I moved to the Florida Keys to begin an internship with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). REEF is a marine conservation non-profit that encourages divers and snorkelers to become citizen scientists by recording fish abundances in a public-access database to be used for science and management. With REEF, I taught Caribbean fish identification to the public, coordinated and led invasive lionfish research, and collaborated with dive operators throughout southern Florida. This experience showed me firsthand that conservation efforts are most effective through collaborations between multiple interest groups.
After working with REEF, I became the Marine Science Teaching Assistant and Lab Manager for the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program in Mystic, CT. There, I maintained an 8,000-square foot teaching laboratory complete with aquarium system, and mentored undergraduates on their independent research projects in marine science. The interdisciplinary program is a collaboration between Williams College and Mystic Seaport, providing both an historic and academic perspective to studying the oceans.
In August 2015, I moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to pursue a PhD in Ecology at UNC-Chapel Hill. My research interests focus on ecosystem-based fisheries management, coral reef ecology, and interdisciplinary marine conservation efforts. I hope to combine my passion for the oceans with skills in quantitative ecology, social science survey methods, and public outreach initiatives to inspire increased ocean stewardship among local communities in tropical regions.