I grew up in suburban Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi. My love of nature came from books, media, and multiple visits to zoos and aquariums. I always knew I didn't want a typical "desk job", and working with animals would be a fun and rewarding career.
I conducted undergraduate research at Mississippi State looking at coyote and prey activity patterns. This project cemented my desire to do research. I fell in love with birds toward the end of my undergraduate studies during an ornithology class, leading me to search for graduate projects in avian conservation.
I started graduate research on birds and artificial light at North Carolina State in 2019. I am a permitted to handle, experiment with, and band birds. I also became an Associate Wildlife Biologist® in 2019, officially certified by The Wildlife Society.
Research & Career Goals
I am interested in minimizing the impacts of the built environment on wildlife. My research is interdisciplinary, combining aspects of field ornithology, urban ecology, data science, genetics, nutrition, and veterinary science.
Currently, I work outdoors in a barn in rural North Carolina studying Barn Swallow chicks. I designed a field experiment that places artificial lights over some of the swallows' nests. I take morphological measurements and blood samples to collect data on how the chicks respond to artificial light. I hope to understand the effects of artificial light on birds at an organismal level and map out the internal pathways that lead to those effects.
After finishing my degree, I hope to become a professor and start my own research lab that focuses on urban wildlife and anthropogenic pollutants, such as light and noise.
As an environmental educator, I aim to give much-needed diversity representation to young, aspiring scientists. My public engagement is informed by my lived experience as a Black woman from the Deep South pursuing a career in a predominantly white male field.
I am a member of NC State's Public Science Cluster - a group dedicated to making science more accessible and understandable. I teach environmental workshops and give talks and presentations to various audiences (school groups, nature enthusiasts, social media groups, scientific peers, etc.). Visit my "Contact Me" page to book me for your event!
I combine my love of teaching with my affinity for art and creative writing. I am a children's author who has both self-published and signed with a publishing agency. I primarily write nonfiction picture books about animals and nature. As a kid, books helped cultivate my love for the environment, and I enjoy adding to that aspect of connection to nature in children.