I’m a Ph.D. student and Ocean Leaders Graduate Fellow at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (where I also recently finished my M.Sc.). Before moving to Vancouver, I lived for five years in Santa Cruz, California, where I obtained a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. My research interests involve attempting to understand the ways that people affect the health of coral reefs, and how the health of coral reefs affect people.
I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in rural Maryland, and water has always been an important part of my life. My parents were avid scuba divers and I was exposed to the underwater world at a very young age. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a marine scientist.
My masters research was based in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (if you’re interested, you can read more about the project here). I’ve worked in the Micronesia region before; as an undergraduate student, I worked extensively in the Ulithi Atoll, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia as a part of One People One Reef (a group of community members and researchers combining science and tradition to find innovative ways to manage marine resources). I worked with communities in Ulithi from 2012 – 2016. I hope to continue working in the Marshall Islands and the wider Micronesia region in the future.
I also worked in the Coastal Conservation Action Lab at UC Santa Cruz to research anthropogenic threats on islands around the world (particularly invasive species). While there, I contributed to the Threatened Island Biodiversity Database, which helps prioritize the global distribution of mitigation dollars for the conservation of vulnerable seabird species. Finally, I work closely with a researcher from California Sea Grant’s Extension Program to explore the human aspects of the California halibut fisheries. This information will be used to create a comprehensive fishery management plan.
I’ve learned a lot about marine conservation through all of these experiences. My primary interests involve integrating biology and social science to understand how human activities impact coral reef health and vice versa. In this way, I hope my work will give communities the tools they need to make empowered decisions about resource management themselves.