What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I am a lecturer in the School of Natural Resources, and I teach Principles of Ecology and Ichthyology. I also manage the Aquatic Biodiversity & Conservation Lab where we study the physiology, ecology, behavior, and life history strategies of Nebraska fish species.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I’m a Nebraska native, and I completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at UNL. I’ve always been impressed by the School of Natural Resource’s commitment to students and strong collaborations with stakeholders. Students here are set up to succeed, and I’m proof of that. It’s fulfilling for me to be on the faculty side of this relationship after benefiting as a student.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I love to guide and encourage students in the experiential learning process, whether that is researching optimal growth conditions for yellow perch or making field observations of raccoons in a residential neighborhood. I enjoy helping students focus on what is meaningful to them, what their strengths are, and how their interests and abilities can work together to shape their careers. There are many ways to be a natural resource scientist, and mentoring students in that discovery process is exciting!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I am a first-generation college graduate. My college and career paths are non-traditional – a late start to college education, a period of unemployment while I raised my children, and a shift from working as a field biologist to teaching full-time. Throughout, I’ve remained committed to a theme: connecting with people and connecting people to the natural world.
What is something that most people don't know about you?
My retirement goal is to live in an old mansion full of cats in the middle of nowhere.
What is your life like outside of work?
My husband and I stay busy with our three kids, three cats, and a three-legged dog! I love to be moving outdoors, preferably running, cycling, or kayaking. Exploring small towns for thrift store treasures and hole-in-the-wall diners is my ideal weekend.