I am a full time graduate student studying biology at Western Illinois University. I am a teaching assistant during the school year and have worked as a research assistant over the summer. My thesis project examines the effects of prescribed burning on vegetation dynamics, along with the subsequent impacts it has on tick abundance. For this project, I will also be using PCR to detect the presence of Borellia sp. in ticks collected.
I am currently working on a second research project that evaluates the effects of sex and body size on ectoparasite load of southern flying squirrels. While working on this project, I have gained experience trapping and handling small mammals.
As a research assistant at the Alice L. Kibbe field station. I have gained experience collecting freshwater mussels in the Mississippi River for a long term study; experience identifying saplings and herbaceous vegetation; and I also have assisted with collecting, sorting and weighing leaf litter for a gastropod study and for examining fuel loads. I have a variety of research interests, but I am most fascinated in the ecological relationships between plants, arthropods,and zoonotic diseases.