I am an engineer-turned-ecologist and 2020 National Geographic Explorer. As a data geek, I am interested in the application of technology to monitor and conserve biodiversity, particularly the use of quantitative tools to visualize and analyze ecological data. As a mud-on-boots field biologist, I like collecting my own data.
I did my PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst under the supervision of Toni Lyn Morelli. Others on my dissertation committee were Paige Warren, Jason Kamilar, and Jeff Podos. For my doctoral dissertation, I developed methods to improve biodiversity conservation and monitoring using existing datasets as well as my fieldwork on carnivores in India and Zambia.
I was diagnosed with cancer towards the end of 2013. The Barbet's Lullaby chronicles some of my experiences and emotions before and during the treatment. As of 2015, I'm in remission, having successfully finished treatment, and just as importantly, I'm back doing what I love! In 2018, the Field Secrets blog featured this post on my time in the field after cancer.
As a passionate science communicator, I am actively involved with a number of science storytelling, advocacy, and outreach programs. I am also part of several initiatives working towards enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) at various levels. I compile and maintain a spreadsheet of DEIJ resources (articles, peer-reviewed publications, podcasts, videos, blog posts). I contribute to several free and open source software projects since I believe open science/data increases reproducibility and accountability, and enhances equity by reducing barriers to accessibility.
For up-to-date information on my global birding activity, check my eBird profile page.