Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
Major: Ph.D. in Natural Resource Sciences
Anticipated Date of Graduation: December 2024
Why did you decide to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I decided on UNL for the opportunity to continue working with the nonprofit organization, For Elephants Inc., and my current advisor, Dr. John Carroll. I previously worked with For Elephants Inc. to study testosterone concentrations in African elephants for my master's degree. I am now working with the research team again to further investigate fertility in elephants.
What is your favorite thing about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I love the sense of community the school has. Within the School of Natural Resources, I have connected with faculty and graduate students from all different fields of research. Everyone is extremely approachable and excited to provide input or help. Having a strong academic support system is extremely important as a graduate student.
What about diversity and inclusion is important to you when you think about your CASNR experience?
Diversity and inclusion are critical components to a successful college and graduate school experience. The School of Natural Resources graduate program has students from all over the US and many from different countries. Connecting with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures is important for my role as the Chair of the SNR (School of Natural Resources) Graduate Student Association. Our team tries to plan events which encourage participation from all students and provide a social network for students who may be new to the city.
Exposure to cultural differences is a huge part of college. What activity have you recently participated in that is different from what you are used to in your culture? This could be something you read, listened to, watched, eaten or otherwise taken part in. What did you learn from this activity?
I was the teaching assistant for the Guiding in Southern Africa summer abroad course where we spent a month in the remote Makuleke Concession in South Africa. Local members of the Makuleke tribe are employed by the conservation group to run the camp. I enjoyed the opportunity to immerse myself in local traditions, try new foods, and learn about the incredible lives of individuals from all over the globe! One of my favorite parts of the trip was experiencing a South African "braai," which is similar to a barbeque.
What is your favorite class you have taken so far and why?
My favorite class so far has been Guiding in Southern Africa. This course was co-taught by Dr. John Carroll in SNR and a group called EcoTraining in South Africa. The course highlighted the diverse wildlife, history and culture of South Africa. This course was also the first step in completing my South African Field Guide Apprenticeship Certification, which I earned this past summer.
What are your plans post-graduation?
Once I graduate, I hope to have a career as a Principal Investigator and Professor at a university or as a Wildlife Physiologist at a zoo. Regardless of where I end up, I hope to continue studying wildlife reproductive physiology and conservation.
What's life like outside of school?
Outside of school, I enjoy spending time outdoors, playing volleyball, baking and spending time with my family and friends. Graduate school can be busy and slightly overwhelming at times, so I appreciate any free time I have to relax and unwind!
What scholarships, if any, have you received?
I have received the Dr. Ron Johnson and Dr. Mary Beck Graduate Student Fellowship for Nature Conservation (2022) and UNL Life Sciences Graduate Fellowship (2022-2023).