•Degree: Bachelor of Arts (Major Biology, Minor German), Kalamazoo College (Michigan, USA)
•Study focus: Ecology (biodiversity of plants and invertebrates)
•Personal interests: Photography (digital and B&W darkroom), Philosophy, Piano, Gardening and Social justice issues
In my childhood and early adolescence, I often went hiking in the wilderness, and over time have developed an immense appreciation for it. This appreciation has transformed into a fascination for life, which has stayed with me until the present. Biology has been a natural expression of that fascination for me, and seeing the anthropogenic influences on our world has only encouraged me to the further in-depth pursuit of ecology, specifically.
Because of this, I chose to study biology at a liberal arts college, Kalamazoo College and graduated in June of 2006. I accomplished much during my time there; I wrote a 63-page senior thesis about the ethics of being a biologist, was a participating author on a paper with a professor at my college for research I aided with dealing with bio-indicators of overall biodiversity, and was an engaged environmental advocate in my community.
Motivation and Direction
During the course of my undergraduate studies, I came to the increasingly strong conviction that I had a goal to pursue in my future research: it was imperative that I, as a human being, and as a biologist, determine accurately the effects we are having on our planet, as well as ways that we can mitigate those impacts or avoid them. Thus, after graduation, I completed two research internships in biodiversity, working on projects studying the direct or indirect impacts that humans make on the environment. The first was: at the Archbold Biological Station (Florida, USA), where I examined how cattle affected the biodiversity of isolated, seasonal wetlands on the aquatic invertebrate fauna. The second was at the Kellogg Biological Station (Michigan, USA), where I investigated how plant communities deal with different spatial patterning and levels of resources, specifically nitrogren.
My ultimate hope is to be doing applied research on biodiversity issues relating to either plants or invertebrates, with such questions being asked as: how are humans modifying the biodiversity? How does the biodiversity of one taxa, for example plants, affect other taxa, such as insects? The work I have done so far, and the work I have yet to do, all have one thing in common: they respond to my ethical conviction that we ought not to destroy our world, and they attempt to figure out our specific effects and how to decrease their severity.