I am a Masters Student at the University of Connecticut studying Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. I graduated in 2011 from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA with a degree in Biology and also have a background in Business and Accounting.
I am interested in promoting coexistence between humans and large carnivores in North America using public outreach and education. I believe outreach and education are important to minimize misconceptions, create awareness of the roles these animals play in the environment, and promote safer interactions between humans and our native large carnivores.
In addition to my formal studies, I also regularly volunteer and am an educator at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY. Through them as well as the many guests who come through the center I am learning how to best reach and engage a public audience. I am also able to see firsthand what common fears there are, how many common misconceptions there are, and how important it is to use ambassador animals to increase general knowledge and promote coexistence between wolves and humans. I am also learning the importance of captive breeding programs for critically endangered animals such as the Red Wolf and the Mexican Gray Wolf and how such programs are implemented to maximize the overall species' health as well as each individual's health, well-being, and chance at being released into the wild.
In addition to my background in biology, ecology, and wildlife, I also have a strong background working with the general public. My experiences allow me to incorporate the human component into conservation due to extensive immersion in customer service roles and business classes, and I have supplemented my ecology and conservation biology classes at the University of Connecticut to expand this cross-discipline work. I also have managerial experience in coordinating and supervising undergraduate students and interns and also have experience in training new volunteers.
In my personal life I share my home with a my dog Elsa, a German Shepherd/Husky mix, and my cat Eowyn, a Maine Coone Mix. In addition to my in-home family, I also share my life with my two horses, my Arabian mare Aliyah "Ali" and my Hanoverian gelding Westfold "Wes." I enjoyed the challenge of training Elsa myself and I have also trained and competed both Ali and Wes in dressage.