Ecology is a discipline focused on connections; a tenet of ecological study is that biotic and abiotic entities affect and are affected by each other in ways that contribute either to ecosystem stability or change.  As a global change ecologist, I am most interested in the latter phenomenon; I seek to explain how ecosystems that have been severely altered by both climate change and biological invasions feed back to influence future change.  As a Ph.D. candidate in the Jenerette lab at the University of California - Riverside, I study how arid ecosystems in southern California respond to global change drivers of statewide concern:  altered wildfire regimes, severe drought, enhanced nitrogen deposition, and exotic grass invasion.  Previously, I have explored consequences of altered precipitation patterns for grassland plant-insect interactions and salt marsh plant communities, and I have contributed to work describing invasion patterns and strategies of exotic plants in the Midwestern United States.  As I further our understanding of global change and ecosystem-climate feedbacks, I hope to improve environmental literacy in both scientific and non-scientific circles.