- Office of Academic Affairs
- Smith-Broyles Science Building 134
The first question I am typically asked is “What got you interested in bugs?” Since I was kid, I was fascinated with insects and plants, and their tiny world. Ants carrying other insects around, flies evading spiders, caterpillars chewing plants, so much going on right below us. I was often that child distracted by bugs and would take a moment from what I was doing to see where a tiny beetle was going. As an undergraduate at UC Irvine, I took biology courses completed research that helped me realize how the tiny world of insects and plants influences so much around us, which led me to earn my Ph.D. in entomology at Texas A&M University. Here as an Insect Ecologist, I learned how bugs, plants, and their ecology work, as well as taught undergraduates about these interactions. It was here that I began to greatly enjoy teaching and looked forward to teaching more students about insects and ecology.
In 2016, I joined the University of the Ozarks where I continue to teach as well as research insect and plant interactions. This university provides a student-centered environment where I can get to know my students, learn their interests, and best help them succeed.
Special Projects / Initiatives
Specifically, I research how environmental changes such as a lack of water or nutrients change plant chemistry and therefore insect ecology. I currently have the following projects:
-Examining how growing mixtures of plants recruit natural pest controlling arthropods (e.g., spiders) and affect plant yield compared to growing stands of one plant.
-Understanding microbial/molecular ecology of soil bacteriophages that infect Actinobacteria
-Studying the effects of acid rain on legume plant yield, above and below ground biomass
-I am always looking for students who would like to work with me in the fields of entomology and/or plant physiology. Drop by my office or send an email!
In addition, I also believe that interdisciplinary learning is key to critical thinking and global citizenry. With our LENS curriculum, we provide the opportunity for students to become broad learners. The “Through Your LENS” program on campus allows students to informally discuss student-chosen topics with a panel of faculty from a variety of disciplines. This student-driven program allows the campus to explore important topics from an interdisciplinary perspective outside of the classroom.