Andrea is originally from southeastern Wisconsin and received a Bachelor's degree in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison (1995).
She completed a Master's degree at the University of Florida, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (1999). Her Master's research examined the effects of various restoration treatments on reptiles and amphibians in longleaf pine sandhills on the panhandle of Florida.
She worked for The Nature Conservancy in northwest Florida for two years before beginning a Ph.D. program in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Arizona (2007). For her dissertation research, she quantified the effects of a nonnative grass (Lehmann lovegrass, Eragrostis lehmanniana) and prescribed fire on small mammal and invertebrate communities in semidesert grasslands. Andrea also earned a minor in Statistics.
She lectured in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, held a post-doctoral research position at Colorado State University and the University of Arizona, and was a faculty member with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University - Kingsville before joining the Ecology department at MSU in January 2011.