I am from San Diego, California, where I earned a Bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University. In my senior year at SDSU, 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, investigating 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 working with Bryan, and grew a lot as a scientist and as a person during my time in the Carstens lab.

For my postdoctoral research, I worked 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 was interested in using genome-scale data, statistical methods, and computational tools to infer the coevolutionary processes important for maintaining this obligate mutualism. I also worked on understanding the processes governing species boundaries, reproductive isolation, and the importance of hybridization and introgression within these interacting lineages.

I recently 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 am continuing my work on the fig and fig wasp system while also exploring the evolution of ecological communities. As part of my current postdoc position, I have also had the opportunity to teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses, gaining valuable experience as an instructor.