Biography

I am a western Kansas native. I earned a Bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State University (FHSU). I studied mammalian ecology for my Master’s degree with Dr, Gene Fleharty also at FHSU. I then studied biogeography, macroecology, and conservation of biodiversity with Dr. Mark Lomolino at the University of Oklahoma, where I earned my PhD in zoology. My research focuses on large-scale ecological patterns and processes and how they can be applied to the conservation of biodiversity. I am particularly interested in extinction as an ecological process. I am highly proficient at quantitative and spatial analyses. I have experience working with state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations to develop conservation plans and practical solutions to conservation challenges. The classes I teach range from introductory biology for freshman to biogeography and macroecology for graduate students (a full list the courses I currently teach and have taught in the past can be seen here). The majority of classes that I teach emphasize developing students’ quantitative and computational skills to make them better qualified for their desired jobs or better preparing them for continuing their education. I am proud of my teaching; I work hard to develop and deliver my courses; and I enjoy helping students learn. My research group is a mix of undergraduate and graduate students whose research interests include behavior, community ecology, climate change, plant-animal interactions, conservation prioritization and planning, invasive/exotic species, and changes in the geographic ranges of endangered species. Students in my research group have worked on a wide variety of taxa (plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds) and have utilized lab experiments, fieldwork of various types, meta analyses, and ecological modeling. I encourage my students to develop the skills and gather the experiences that move them toward their career and life goals. Three quarters of my research students go on to work in some aspects of conservation and the remaining quarter have chosen to continue their education.