I am a dedicated naturalist, ecologist, and environmental educator with a passion for writing. As a Lecturer in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, my courses emphasize natural history and environmental education & communication. I am also the Director of K-12 Pipeline Programs, Director of the Environmental Science Summer Program at Duke and Director of the NSOE Communications Studio. Education. My ecological training began before college at The Grove, a nature preserve in northern Illinois. There, I worked at as a naturalist and educator. I received my B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois - Urbana, I graduating summa cum laude after three years of study. Before starting my doctoral studies, I served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Knoxville, TN working at the interface of water quality policy and science. I also volunteered at The Sea Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL.
I completed my doctoral studies in Duke University’s Program in Ecology, one of the top three programs in the nation (see National Research Council). My dissertation research explored the multi-scale distributions and conservation status of snakes in the North American tallgrass prairie and integrated the quantitatively intense methods of landscape ecology with the more traditional field-based approach of conservation biology (see 2008 paper). Academic Positions. In 2011, I joined the Thompson Writing Program (TWP) at Duke University as a Lecturing Fellow. The TWP provided intensive training in pedagogical methods, allowing me to develop courses that empowered students to complete real-world research and service-learning projects. These courses included Endangered Ecosystems of North Carolina, From Woods to Words, and European Environmentalism. I also used the TWP's unique interdisciplinary environment to develop a new research program focused on environmental education.
In 2013, I was invited to join the Faculty of the Nicholas School of the Environment, where I teach courses in natural history (e.g., Forest Measurements, Wildlife Surveys) and communication (e.g., Writing for Environmental Professionals). This particular amalgamation of subjects follows a long tradition of naturalists, including Aldo Leopold and E. O. Wilson, that combine science and communication in their work.
Finally, I have a deep interest in foreign culture and language that compelled me to study a number of languages and travel to all 50 states and over 35 countries. On the weekends, I love spending time in nature, writing and reading, visiting historical sites, and exploring local museums with my husband and remarkable son.