State University of New York (SUNY), College at Oneonta
In high school, it really started to hit me how many amazing ecosystems there are in the world and how much damage we are doing to them by not taking ecosystem function into account when we create human development plans. As an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan majoring in Resource Ecology and Management, I took a stream ecology course and fell in love with the complexity of river systems. Year after year, the same populations are present in the same place in the river even though the flow is constantly pushing them downstream.
While I love the thrill (and frustration) of trying to answer scientific questions, I also find joy in seeing others learn new knowledge and skills. With my love of research and teaching, being a professor was an obvious combination of these two interests. After completing my Bachelor's degree, I went to the University of Illinois where I completed MS and PhD research in Entomology (performing the baseline study for this project for my dissertation). I then went on to a postdoc at North Dakota State University, where I worked on the conservation genetics of the White Sands pupfish, a desert fish that lives in NM. Currently, I am a Full Professor at SUNY College at Oneonta, having just finished my 14th year and served as Department Chair from the fall of 2014 to the spring of 2020.
Taking students out into the field to see how habitats work first-hand is, to me, the best way for students to learn. While I have taught a number of classes, from introductory courses for majors and non-scientists to genetics and entomology, my favorite courses are the project-based summer field courses, where students learn content and research skills by performing individual research projects in the field. In addition to its contribution to our understanding of aquatic population-level processes, the information gained from this proposed study will be worked into my classes and bring new lab skills to the students I mentor.