I grew up around Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA where I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in the beautiful outdoors exploring, camping and fishing with family. I had an early interest in nature and enjoyed watching and learning about wildlife and plants. I decided that I wanted to study natural resources at university where I had the privilege to study under some very inspiring and influential rangeland ecology and wildlife biology professors at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Under their guidance, I realised my deep interest in the dynamic field of fire ecology. I finished my Bachelor of Science with a semester abroad in Kenya where I further discovered my interest in the similarities of prescribed fire use in savanna ecosystems around the world. I continued my education at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma under the supervision of Dr. Sam Fuhlendorf, earning a Master of Science studying the interactions between fire and cattle and elk herbivory on rare plants. Directly after graduation I was hired at the Tall Timbers Research Station Fire Ecology Lab where I spent nearly 5 years studying the impact of fire on plants and soil, smoke particulates and fire behaviour under the leadership of Dr. Kevin Robertson. During my continuing education and professional development, my interest in global savanna-fire dynamics only grew and I decided it was time to extend my study of fire ecology to a new continent leading to my PhD research in Australian savannas. Find out more about my PhD research under the “Recent Research” section!
The field experiences that I had while conducting my PhD have changed the trajectory of my career path. I worked closely with Traditional Owners to conduct my field work and have maintained strong relationships in the Kimberley. I found that conducting research alongside Traditional Owners and Indigenous Rangers allowed a more complete understanding of the country I was working on. I believe utilising Traditional Ecological Knowledge alongside western scientific information and methodologies is an ideal way to manage natural and cultural resources. Working with Traditional Owners has not only been incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally, it has made me realize that there is no other way to move forward managing the natural and cultural resources of Australia. I am personally committed to conservation management and protection of cultural heritage in a way that provides opportunities and support to Traditional Owners.