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I grew up in a small town in southwest Iowa where I spent the majority of my time outside chasing snakes and turtles. My passion for reptiles and amphibians grew during my undergraduate years at Simpson College where I had the opportunity to work on several projects studying Iowa's pit vipers. My interests shifted slightly from my desire to understand the biology of these amazing creatures to an inclination to learn how to protect and conserve them, which ultimately led to my M.S. in Natural Resources studying environmental policy at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. After a short break from school, I returned to the zoology field, only this time working with arachnids, at Oklahoma State University where I earned my doctorate.


When I'm not teaching or feeding hundreds of spiders in the lab, I enjoy taking care of my geckos, spending time with my family, building LEGO, watching the NFL, NCAA athletics (GO POKES!), and the NBA.

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2014 - 2019

Oklahoma State University

Ph.D. Integrative Biology 

2008 - 2010

University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point

M.S. Natural Resources- Environmental Policy

2004 - 2008

Simpson College

B.A. Biology

Minor: Environmental Science

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