From the subarctic to the subtropical.
I've had the opportunity to live in some of the hottest and coldest places in the United States from central California and central Alabama to interior Alaska. No matter the landscape, I've always been enthusiastic about a career in wildlife research.
Whether it was floating down the Chena River in the middle of Fairbanks at 18 degrees F in October, flying in the back of a Super Cub for the National Park Service counting brown bears (Ursus arctos), or being up to my elbows in bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) to help butcher with the local Inupiat women of Point Hope I pursued my passion with diligence and hard work and I loved every minute of it.
Through my experiences, I have found movement and community ecology across taxa the most interesting and intend to focus on these topics throughout my career. Currently, I am a graduate research assistant at Auburn University focusing on management and community ecology of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) on a small piece of state-managed land in central Alabama. In my graduate research, I have had the opportunity to work with an exotic invasive species that serves as a broader model not just for invasive ecology, but for large mammal ecology, spatial ecology, community ecology, landscape ecology, occupancy modeling, and I'm sure other ecological topics I'll discover as I dive deeper into my research.
I have also had the opportunity to be a writing consultant for Auburn University's Miller Writing Center where I have worked with students of all skills to collaborate in their writing. As a circle leader, I've had the privilege of tackling ways of making our writing center more accessible to everyone with my fellow consultants. My experience working here has enriched not only my own writing, but also how I approach every day problems.
I love going outside.
I hike, I run, I do as much as I can outside. Most recently, I've picked up skiing, a sport that I had sworn off five years ago during an ill-fated class project looking for squirrel and hare tracks. I have also taking up mushing, just recreationally. I don't have any sled dogs myself, but I run dogs with friends and have become involved in the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association as their secretary.
There is a reason why I sought a job in wildlife - though a job that is increasingly inside. At the very least, it has allowed me to be close to some magnificent landscapes. Even as my job pulls me in front of the computer, I can enjoy my down time outside.
I am an Alaskan.
As an Alaskan transplant, I often wish I had been born and lived my entire life there, but it is not so. Like so many transplants, though, Alaska has and always will have my heart even if my career only allows me to greet the state in passing. There's nothing that makes me feel more alive and in touch with the world as going out on a -40 F day and growing frost on my eyelashes as my lungs fight the cold air.