This led me to attend Purdue University in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department to complete my BS in Fisheries and Aquatic Science. I found my passion for fieldwork, and scientific research. I conducted research during my undergraduate years on lake sturgeon, coaster brook trout, and the aquatic organisms near agriculture fields with and without riparian zones. I continued my love of lake sturgeon research after graduating by being a technician for other projects.
I then landed my first dream job of being a fisheries technician and laboratory coordinator at the Illinois Natural History Survey, Lake Michigan Biological Station. I spent my summers on the beautiful lake helping to understand the yellow perch, lake trout populations and near shore communities including benthic invertebrates and zooplankton. I even got to scuba dive for work, which allowed me to interact with the world I was always fascinated with since being young. I found my second passion, which is zooplankton. I returned to school for my Master’s at East Carolina University to study the zooplankton population in the Chowan River. I fell in love with the coastal environment especially putting together my love of freshwater and marine systems. I decided to stay at East Carolina University to complete my PhD program studying the lower trophic food webs in two estuarine systems in North Carolina.