It's been over two years since my last update, and understandably, a lot has happened in that time!
I've moved on (and geographically, also) from Denali to start a PhD program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where I'm working with Dr. Pete Marra. I'm excited to report that I'll be working on one of North America's most overlooked and also most recognizable birds - the American Robin!
The robin may be the early bird that catches the worm, the archetypal backyard bird, and all that jazz - but it turns out there's still a lot to learn from this common bird. Beyond the facts that robins seem to be doing perfectly fine (as in, they are not declining or exist on any conservation watch lists), may be one of the most widely distributed songbirds on the North American continent, AND they seem to be expanding their range, both northward and southward - they also are an enigma when it comes to their migratory behavior. Hopefully, my PhD will change that.
Throughout the next 5 or so years, I'll be working with researchers all over the country to uncover and illuminate the black box that is American Robin migration. Keep your eyes on this page, my social media, the Marra website, and elsewhere to keep posted on what I learn!
For a teaser on what I've been working on, check out this article recently published in Audubon magazine!
This past weekend, I was invited to speak at the Girl Scouts of Alaska's Women of Science and Technology Day luncheon, held at the University of Alaska campus in Anchorage. The event typically brings in 700 girls each year, with roughly 150 of them attending the mid-day luncheon. The organizer of this event asked that I speak on my experiences, how I got into the science field, and to share words of inspiration. I was thrilled to see so many girls and their parents at the event.
I talked about growing up in Florida, playing with rollie pollies, and trying to rear tadpoles with my brother in our backyard. I detailed some pretty pivotal experiences in my life that influenced my path and career choices, and ultimately lead to where I am today, working as a bird biologist at Denali National Park and Preserve. I think there were a only few lines of text for the entire presentation, and nary a graph did appear. Gratuitous photos of fluffy birds did abound.
I was and am so honored to have had the opportunity to speak with so many mighty girls that will one day become our scientists, engineers, programmers, and coders. Hopefully next year I can organize a workshop!
FINALLY, I have published this thing and made it publicly available! This website has been a long-time coming for well over a year. Who knew producing a personal professional website was such a time suck?!
Please feel free to peruse the tabs above and learn more about my research, involvement in outreach and education, and published articles.
My goals for this main home page is to provide timely updates to what's going on in my bird world. I also hope to write the occasional blog post that highlights projects I am working on, or activities I am involved with.
This page is still very much a WORK IN PROGRESS so please feel free to shoot me an email if you have any comments, suggestions of improvement, or questions. Enjoy the page and thanks for visiting!
I am an Avian Ecologist dazzled by the finer, feathered things in life. I study the dispersal, migration ecology, and behavior of birds.