I am from San Diego, California, where I earned a Bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University. In the senior year of my undergraduate studies, I took a course in Terrestrial Arthropod Biology taught by Dr. Marshal Hedin—this course had a profound effect on my life. Following a year off after graduation, I entered the Master’s program at San Diego State in Evolutionary Biology, being fortunate enough to have Marshal as my advisor. For my thesis, I worked on the systematics and evolution of the trapdoor spider genus Aliatypus, focusing on phylogenetic relationships, biogeographic patterns, and species limits.
After earning a Master’s degree in 2011, I started my PhD with Dr. Bryan Carstens at Louisiana State University, and then moved with Bryan a year later to THE Ohio State University. For my dissertation, I investigated the community phylogeography of the Sarracenia alata carnivorous pitcher plant system and associated eukaryotes, with a focus on the arthropods. I spent five excellent years in the Carstens lab, and grew a lot as a scientist during this time under Bryan’s tutelage.
For my postdoctoral research, I have been working with Dr. Tracy Heath and Dr. John Nason in the Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology department at Iowa State University studying the coevolution of Neotropical figs and fig wasps. In particular, I am using genome-scale data, statistical methods, and computational tools to infer the coevolutionary processes important for maintaining this obligate mutualism. I am also working on understanding the processes governing species boundaries, reproductive isolation, and the importance of hybridization and introgression within these interacting lineages.
Recently, I moved back to The Ohio State University for a postdoctoral research position in the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal department working with Dr. Bryan Carstens. I will continue my work on the fig and fig wasp system and also expand on my research investigating the evolution of ecological communities.