Research Interests

Main Research Interests

The focus of my dissertation will be on restoration ecology, namely how to effectively predict and model projected environmental benefits of restoration and how to prioritize restoration projects across a variable landscape. This is an applied research focus that I believe will contribute to the body of knowledge on this subject and benefit the USACE as a whole. The following is a list of research objectives:
  • Perform a critical review of USACE policy related to ecosystem restoration for consistent and meaningful use of ecological terminology
  • Conduct a review and evaluation of variables measured to predict benefits from successful ecological restoration projects.
  • Review and critically examine current models used to predict ecological changes as a result of ecological restoration projects.
  • Develop a spatially explicit model to project benefits derived from alternative restoration scenarios across a variable landscape to prioritize allocation of funds.

The Reason (Mission)
The reason I decided to go back to school and pursue a second graduate degree was to become better acquainted with my chosen profession, ecological restoration, and how to communicate what I do to a non-scientific audience more effectively.

Other Research Interests

I am interested in learning non-parametric statistical techniques. My side project is to take another look at the data collected for my Mater's thesis. I hope to reanalyze the data with multi-variate statistical techniques.

Research Experience

I started as a graduate assistant at the University of Northern Iowa performing stream assessments throughout the state of Iowa. My job was to collect and identify benthic macroinvertebrates upstream and downstream of manure spills. Not the most glamourous work, however, this started my passion for natural resource management and scientific exploration. I continued as a technician at a land trust based in Nebraska where I assisted in data collection for a variety of projects ranging from bird banding to fish shocking. I then completed a Master's of Science from Mississippi State University. My thesis was on testing the Floristic Quality Assessment Index in freshwater marshes in northern Mississippi. 

Personal Interests

  • Opera - I have been studying opera for over ten years and really enjoy singing with groups and choruses. 
  • Birding - Early and late spring are the time for serious birding, although I really don't like getting up too early in the morning. 
  • Hiking Local Areas - During the growing season, there is nothing like a nice walk through a beautiful natural area. Maple Grove and Belmont Prairie are my local favorites.