Class Year


Current Hometown:

Groningen, The Netherlands

Job and Employer

Ph.D. Student, The University of Groningen


I am studying the ecology and evolution of the threespine stickleback, a fish that is well-known for its rapid adaptation to changing environments. I am specifically looking at part of the Baltic Sea population which has drastically expanded in number and range over the past few decades, in correlation with environmental degradation and top-predator loss. I get to work with a large, interdisciplinary team in the Netherlands and Sweden to conduct field surveys and experiments, genetic analysis, and behavioral experiments to determine the causes and consequences of this rapid expansion and adaptation.

Community work & family

I serve on a sustainability committee in my faculty which aims to spread information and
awareness about environmental efforts of the faculty. We work to make the university as a
whole more environmentally friendly. I work with a feminist organization which raises awareness
about sexual assault and provides resources and information for those affected. In my spare
time, I care for an unreasonable number of houseplants which I have started accumulating to
combat the long winters and bad Dutch weather.

Graduate School

University of Toledo

Graduation Year



M.S. Biology

Senior project:

My senior project was, “Testing assumptions of stable isotope analysis.” I studied the effects of decomposition on stable isotopic signatures and looked into more environmentally benign lab methods for preparation of samples for analysis.


My internship was with the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History. I analyzed data collected from shark attacks from the past few hundred years to see if there were any correlations between changing environmental conditions and an increase in frequency of shark attacks.

Human ecology in action:

I identify human ecology in a lot of the work I do outside of my job. My work is pretty
interdisciplinary but we are still very focused on the science aspect of it. In my work with
committees, we focus more on understanding the needs of the community and trying to come
up with solutions that get to the core of the issues and aren’t just a band-aid effect.

A COA experience that was particularly significant or memorable:

During my third year at COA I did a semester abroad in Australia, which was an amazing
experience. Being away from COA and returning the following year made me realize how much
I valued being part of such a great, supportive community. I think I enjoyed my entire fourth
year so much more because I was able to really savor and appreciate all of the
experiences I was having after not being a part of it the previous year.

Considerations for prospective students:

COA made me more community-minded. I had always been interested in conservation, but I
thought it was important mainly because humans had negatively affected so many ecosystems
and resources and it is our responsibility to undo, or at least stop, all of these negative things. I
had a very narrow view of the issues and how to fix them. I had so many great experiences at
COA that made me realize that there are so many other issues entangled with the
environment - such as inequality and poverty - and that you can’t just go into an area where
the environment is degraded and tell people to stop using resources or to interact differently
with their environment. Although I am still working in conservation, I think I have developed
a much better sense of how to approach issues, especially issues present in communities of
which I am not a part, and work on them in ways that are actually plausible and beneficial. I
hope that now I have a much less naive and narrow mindset when it comes to this type of
work, although I still have a lot to learn.