I am currently a third-year PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying how productive grasslands can be restored to support biodiversity. I came to the University of Illinois after completing a B.S. in Biology with a minor in sociology. I joined the Grand River Grasslands project with the goal of integrating the natural and social sciences to address conservation problems. Addressing these complex problems requires a systems-based approach, and so my research seeks to integrate human dimensions and ecology. My ultimate goal is to understand, prevent, and reverse loss of biodiversity, reconciling human land use with the needs of biological communities.
This project will allow me to complete the final field season of my dissertation, where I am exploring both social and ecological responses to invasive plant management, including avian and arthropod response to herbicide and the potential barriers and benefits of invasive plant management for the human populations that dominate the agricultural Midwest. My previous two field seasons and previous projects have given me the necessary field and laboratory experience needed to complete this project, including extensive experience nest searching, identifying grassland birds, sampling for and identifying grassland arthropods, and completing the steps necessary to implement human subjects research.