I am an entomologist and evolutionary biologist at the California Academy of Sciences. My path to science and bugs was perhaps unexpected since my first few years at the University of Texas at Austin were spent as a studio art major. A charismatic entomology professor (Dr. Riley Nelson) and a summer spent in a lowland rainforest in Costa Rica (Sirena-Corcovado) converted me to science. I realized then that science is a creative field- more about asking and answering questions about the natural world than memorizing facts or mastering organic chemistry.
Between college and grad school, I worked as a research assistant studying frogs, prairie dogs, dolphins and pigeon guillemots. I also spent time as an exhibit designer in a nature center and as a content editor for middle school and high school science text books. An internship in the Entomology Dept. at the Smithsonian with Dr. Wayne Mathis brought me back to insects. I got my PhD and did my postdoc with Dr. Brian Wiegmann at NC State studying the fly tree of life.
I love learning about evolution and uncovering the unknown- especially in our everyday lives. Sharing the process of doing science with others and supporting girls and women in science are some of the best parts of my job. I’m a mother of two kids and owner of an obstinate dog and a bunch of cockroaches.