Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road Glencoe, IL 60022
I consider myself a plant systematist and evolutionary biologist. When people ask what I do, I usually just say I'm a botanist. I grew up in Juneau, a small town in Wisconsin, where I became fascinated by the natural world through gardening, hiking, and foraging with my dad. Those experiences piqued my interest in plants from early on. In college, I studied biology because I thought I could use the degree to become a physician, maybe. I didn't really know people could have careers in science other than becoming a doctor or a teacher. During my undergraduate coursework I was surprised and excited by the required botany course. All that information about plant morphology and diversity and evolution pushed me to pursue a career studying plant evolution in some way.
After college, I had a job with a biotech company for a few years before I had the inclination to move ahead with my education. Following that, I moved to Oklahoma, earned PhD and did all kinds of stuff I really wanted to do (like sequence DNA, collect plants, travel to crazy places where plants grow, things like that).
I'm am currently completing a postdoc appointment with Dr. Chris Martine at Bucknell University. I've been privileged to work with an amazing group of student researchers on a variety of projects including systematic and evolutionary study of Australian Solanum and a handful of other plant groups locally in Pennsylvania, including Erigenia and Baptisia, alongside a great group of academics and conservation practitioners.