I grew up in the suburbs of MN, FL, TN, and MS with an interest in the wildlife around me. I followed this interested into a degree in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University, earning my B.S. in 2019. I also earned my Associate Wildlife Biologist® certification from The Wildlife Society. I went on to grad school at North Carolina State University to pursue a Ph.D. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. After completing my dissertation in 2023, I became a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University.
My work extends past ornithology and ecology research. I am also an advocate for field safety in the natural sciences as an aspect of accessibility and inclusion. In 2022, I co-founded a nonprofit, Field Inclusive (www.fieldinclusive.org), which amplifies and supports marginalized and historically excluded field biologists. I am also a children's author with both self-published work and a contract with Little, Brown Young Readers and Christy Ottaviano Books for a nature book series featuring a 5-year-old Black girl exploring the nature around her suburban home.
In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, birding, herping, photography, video games, and snuggling with my dog, Loki.
I am interested in ornithology and urban ecology research, specifically how anthropogenic stressors affect songbird metabolic health and physical development. I conduct field and laboratory experiments that monitor how nestlings develop under different light and noise regimes.
In songbird nestlings, stress activates cortisol (fight or flight hormone) and elevates glucose (blood sugar), while suppressing melatonin (sleep hormone). This could lead to issues of lack of sleep, altered nutrient processing, and/or differences in growth rates.
I also study natural versus artificial photoperiods and the effects of artificial light at night (aka, light pollution) on avian reproductive ecology and phenology. I work with large citizen science databases to examine how photoperiod influences latitudinal and seasonal clutch size trends.
I hope for my research to improve human-avian relationships in urban environments by informing city infrastructure planning and creating healthy environments for birds to reproduce, migrate, and forage.