Where It All Began
I have always been in love with the outdoors, participating in activities ranging from hiking, biking, hunting and fishing, to kayaking, bird watching, and white-water rafting, but it wasn’t until undergrad that I found my passion. As a freshman, I was given the opportunity to assist Dr. Norman Reichenbach of Liberty University in the research of the Peaks of Otter Salamander, a species of special concern in Virginia and practically in my backyard. Through this research and the Eastern Box Turtle Telemetry I also conducted, I gained a great appreciation and love for the field of Herpetology.
My Master’s research in 2014 through Marshall University and Dr. Jayme Waldron brought me back to my roots and allowed me to continue working with the Peaks of Otter Salamander and assess natural and anthropogenic (fragmentation by roads and trails) impacts on movement.
Current Research and the Future
I am now at Texas State University pursuing my Ph.D. in Aquatic Resources under Dr. Caitlin Gabor. My current research examines the effects of environmental change on amphibian populations by collecting and comparing hormonal and immune responses across populations. This new field of Conservation Physiology uses integrative measures of physiological health to identify at-risk populations and responses to changing environmental conditions. My research has focused on the Ornate Chorus frog (Pseudacris ornata) throughout its range in the Southeastern United States, and the Riogrande Leopard frog (Rana berlandieri) in Texas.
My current career goal is to work in academia, teaching students about the natural world, while conducting some of my own research and hopefully sparking interests in the students as well.