Originally from Southwest Michigan, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Kalamazoo College, where I completed an undergraduate thesis project investigating the interactions between ladybeetle predators and milkweed aphids that sequester plant chemical defenses. Subsequently I went on to earn my Masters in Science degree from Western Michigan University where I completed my thesis on the dynamics and impact of chemical defense expression in plant-aphid-coccinellid interactions. As my interests were geared more to the applied aspects of entomology, I then pursued a PhD at Michigan State University where I evaluated plant composition and habitat size on the effectiveness of native plant conservation strips for sustainable enhancement of beneficial insect communities and their ecosystem services in agroecosystems. From there I moved to New Jersey to work in the Tree Fruit Entomology lab as a post-doctoral research associate.
Currently, as an assistant professor and extension specialist for the University of Georgia and Clemson University, I am the regional peach entomologist for Georgia and South Carolina. Additionally, I have extension responsibilities for a variety of other fruits, including apples and grapes.
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Graduate Student - PhD