I am an Assistant Professor of Biology at Pepperdine University. I earned my B.S. in Biology at Oklahoma Christian University and my Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. During my graduate work, I also spent a year training at the Australian National University.
My research in the field of plant physiological ecology explores how plants can survive drought, fire, and salinity. In particular, I am fascinated with ferns (which typically require abundant water) and how some ferns have adapted to thrive in dry ecosystems, such as the Santa Monica Mountains surrounding Pepperdine. My research on these “extreme” ferns has also taken me to the Channel Islands, the mangrove swamps of Australia, and the tropical rainforests in Costa Rica. My research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Southern California Research Learning Center.
As an undergraduate student, I first experienced biological research by participating in Pepperdine’s SURB program (Summer Undergraduate Research in Biology). This experience was transformative for me because I learned first-hand how the scientific process works, and I realized it is a lot of fun! After this experience, I became committed to facilitating undergraduate research at Pepperdine. I have been mentoring undergraduate research students since 2014, and many of these students have been co-authors on peer-reviewed journal articles and presented their research at national conferences.