I grew up on the edge of the Everglades in South Florida, which is the simplest explanation for why I gained an early appreciation for wildlife in general and birds in particular. I cultivated those interests through backpacking and canoeing, and after moving to Chicago, I traded the swamps of the south for the woods of the Great Lakes.
I attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate and completed my PhD (Ecology and Evolution) in Trevor Price's lab at the University of Chicago. My research focuses on how ecological interactions between organisms and their physical environment influence regional patterns of diversity and the coexistence between species. For my PhD, I studied the biogeographic history of bird communities across the Himalayas in order to understand how historical events, and their interactions with landscape factors, play a role in the assembly of local ecological communities and the evolution and diversification of different lineages within them.
I am currently the Machine Learning Fellow in the Data Science Lab at the Smithsonian Institution and also a Fellow in the Department of Botany at the National Museum of National History. At the Smithsonian, I am working to develop machine learning tools to study community ecology and biodiversity.