I have a strong interest in the behavior and conservation of African primates and am interested in how genetics can help answer questions relating to the phylogeography, population structure, and kinship of primates.
I am a fourth year Anthropology Ph.D. student at Washington University in St. Louis working with Dr. Jane Phillips-Conroy. I have recently participated in a baboon trapping study in Kafue National Park and am currently undertaking my own dissertation research there. My dissertation research is addressing a hybrid zone where kinda baboons (Papio kindae) and grayfooted chacma baboons (P. ursinus griseipes) – species with different social behaviors and appearance – interbreed. I am investigating the external appearance, social organization, mating strategies, and genetics of one baboon hybrid group in the southern part of Kafue National Park, Zambia, as well as the mechanisms and dispersal patterns that best explain baboon hybridization there.
I received my undergraduate degree from Washington University where I majored in Anthropology. I received a Master of Arts degree in 2003 in Higher Education Administration at Boston College and worked in Student Activities, Admissions, and Academic Affairs for about 5 years before returning to my interest in primates. In order to assess whether I should return to field of primatology, I took part in a primate field course in Costa Rica and spent six months in Kenya assisting a graduate student with his behavioral and hormonal research on Sykes monkeys.
To strengthen my biology background, I enrolled in and completed a Master of Science degree in Ecology and Systematic Biology at San Francisco State University in conjunction with the California Academy of Sciences in 2009, where my research focused on the phylogeography of the Angolan Black and White Colobus Monkey, Colobus angolensis, in Kenya and Tanzania.