Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental Science
What is your academic history? I earned a B.A. in Biology from Bates College, a tiny liberal arts college in Maine. I also earned a M.S. degree in Marine Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. My M.S. research focused on using geochemical tools to answer ecological and hydrological questions in coastal lagoons of the Arctic Ocean. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in Ecology and Environmental Science at MSU in the Priscu Research Group in LRES.
What is your research focus? I study carbon cycling in permanently ice-covered lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. The Dry Valleys are the coldest, windiest, and driest desert on Earth. Despite these harsh conditions and the fact that little light penetrates the lakes’ thick ice cover, phytoplankton and microbes thrive year round. I study how biotic and abiotic processes control organic carbon transformations in the lakes, which are the only source of liquid water in the polar winter. This research may have implications for if and how life could survive on icy worlds beyond our planet, such as Mars and Europa.
What is/are your career aspiration(s)? I hope to have a career in academia and would love to be a professor at a small, liberal arts school.
Why did you choose MSU for grad school? I fell in love with the Arctic while completing my M.S. degree and wanted to continue with polar research for my PhD. The Priscu Research Group has been conducting research in Antarctica for over 20 years and is an excellent fit for me.
What is one non-academic interest/hobby that you have/do? When I’m not studying, I love rock climbing at Spire, trail running, and hanging out with my adventure cat, Milo.