I was born and raised in Missouri where I completed my undergraduate degree in wildlife biology at Missouri State University. While there, I became heavily involved with undergraduate research and worked in two different research labs: behavioral ecology of salamanders lab (supervised by Dr. Alicia Mathis), and the bat ecology lab (supervised by Dr. Lynn Robbins).
After completing my BSc., I moved to Flagstaff Arizona where I joined the Pasch Lab studying vocal communication in grasshopper mice. While there, I helped organize the March for Science - Flagstaff, became the volunteer coordinator for a tiger conservation project (The Prusten Project), and helped start a non-profit focused on falconry and raptor conservation.
I am currently living in Saskatchewan, Canada where I am earning my PhD in biology. I am co-supervised by two brilliant mentors, Dr. Erin Baerwald and Dr. Mark Brigham.
The Inevitable "Eye Patch" Question
In May 2019 while I was happily gardening, I all of a sudden had many obvious "floaters" in my eye. I did not know it was a sign of a major issue, that my retina had torn. In the following couple of days, my vision slowly went away, like a dark curtain was being pulled over my field of view.
After a visit to my local clinic and emergency room, I found my ophthalmologist, and he confirmed my retina tore and was also fully detached. He performed two surgeries in under two weeks, but my vision still was not restored.
I am not completely blind, but rather have about 20-30% left. What vision is left, though, does not align with the "good eye" and causes extreme double vision. Therefore, I wear an eyepatch for comfort and so my visual world makes more sense.
Unfortunately, after some time has passed, my optic nerve appears to be degenerating in my 'bad eye', which means it will slowly get worse. Nevertheless, I strive each day to move forward and always look for the silver linings. Even if it's a bit harder to see.