Researcher biography

I’m originally from a tiny town in Missouri, USA. I applied to William Jewell College (also in Missouri) to become a conductor, but discovered that I had a passion for politics. I earned my BA in International Relations and German Area Studies in 1996. I decided I wanted to become a scuba diving instructor, so I spent several years travelling the world doing random jobs (e.g., working as a street mime in Italy) to fulfill that dream. In 2002, I landed in Monterey, CA, USA, where the diving is cold but amazing. I found a job as a teacher for teen mothers and that is when I discovered my teaching vocation. I then completed a postgraduate program in education at California State University, Monterey Bay (California, USA). In my spare time, I volunteered for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which rekindled my interest in the sciences. I took out a huge loan and took a “year off” to start my MSc in Biological Sciences at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (California, USA). My research focused on describing a new pathway for the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in the marine environment.  After graduating, I taught high school for a few more years, then went to sea as a Naturalist for ten years.

I started my PhD to tie all of these strings together into the tapestry of a research project.  I am combining my interests of politics, education, and wildlife conservation to analyse and further develop the field of wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and release.

Orcid: 0000-0002-4018-9077