I am originally from Texas and grew up with horses and pickup trucks. I started as a business major at the University of Oklahoma, but was unhappy and promptly decided that the situation was untenable. I transferred to the University of Colorado, read the book Ishmael, made a trip around the world, sold my truck, and became an environmental biology major.
After graduating I traveled some more and worked for Conservation International. I decided then that I needed a career that combined travel, the outdoors, and a way to improve the way we use and interact with our planet. Ecology seemed to be a good fit.
Upon entering the PhD. program I found that I was really interested in evolutionary questions as well as ecological ones. Now I am interested in understanding how and evolutionary perspective can inform conservation efforts to make it more wholistic.
I am currently working on two projects. The first is a study of a decline in butterfly richness in the Central Valley over the last 30 years. I am on a quest to get to the root of the decline, but so far it is a mystery. My second, and thesis, project is a study into range limits and species distributions. I am using a group of cloud forest butterflies from the tribe Pronophilini in the northern Andes, to investigate how evolutionary and ecological factors merge to define species ranges.
Outside of academics, I enjoy playing outside and spending time with my family, including my 130 pound mutt, Dante. I run, bike, and swim, but rarely get to put them together in a triathlon. My husband and I try to get into the mountains whenever we can to backcountry ski in the winter and backpack in the summer.