Class Year


Current Hometown:

St Paul, MN

Job and Employer

Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities


Teaching statistics to biology undergraduates, leading a research team that investigates fundamental questions in evolutionary biology, and mentoring undergrads graduate students and postdocs in their research.

Graduate School

Indiana University –Bloomington

Graduation Year



PhD in Evolutionary Biology

Senior project:

My senior project investigated numerous problems in evolutionary biology. My favorite chapter investigated how conflict between parents can underlie the process of speciation in plants. This paper was published in the American Naturalist and is still a foundation of my research program.


I participated in an NSF sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the Savanah River Ecology Lab.

Human ecology in action:

I am currently engaged in an interdisciplinary attempt to domesticate a new species, Silphium integrifolium, as a sustainable, perennial oilseed crop. This work includes collaboration between agronomists, food scientists, plant breeders, and geneticists. The challenge of domesticating a plant with an eye on long-term sustainability is a perfect ‘human ecological’ problem and my training at COA has prepared me for this challenge.

Considerations for prospective students:

The small size of COA and close relationships between students and other students, and students and faculty is a fantastic opportunity to dig into fun challenges. This form of learning is exceptionally applicable to how we solve ‘real-world’ problems after college.