I have a broad interest in the fields of ecology, evolution, and conservation biology of tropical forest fauna. I especially like working with insects! I graduated from the City College of New York at the City University of New York in 2011 with a B.S. in Biology and initial certification in secondary education. Currently, I am an NSF graduate research fellow and Ph.D candidate in the Anthony Lab at the University of New Orleans. I am also co-supervised by Prof. T. Keith Philips from Western Kentucky University. In the past, I have conducted research on the phylogeography of a widespread tropical butterfly Melanitis leda. I have also participated in a Buddhism and biodiversity conservation project in Southeast Asia, specifically in Sri Lanka and Thailand. Most recently, I was involved in a large collaborative project in Gabon, West Central Africa, that aims to develop an integrated framework for conserving the adaptive evolutionary potential of central African biodiversity under climate change. For my Ph.D, I am working on characterizing the dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) fauna of the Cameroonian Highlands, both in terms of their species richness and distinct evolutionary histories (phylogentic diversity). More details in the Research section!
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and Publicity
NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are awarded to graduate students in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) who demonstrate outstanding research potential. GRFP fellows receive $32,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the institution for three years. Fellows also have opportunities to participate in international research and professional development. For more information on NSF GRFPs, visit their website.
In 2012, I was awarded an NSF GRFP to pursue research to look at the impacts of habitat change on birds, butterflies, and their ecosystem services across a land-use gradient. Although my current research is taking a shift from what I proposed for the NSF GRFP, my interests still remain very strong in ecosystem services and functions and working with insects. For press coverage of my award, please click on the links below.
On the Wings of Butterflies
Record 16 CUNY students win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
1 CCNY Senior, 8 Recent Graduates Win NSF Research Fellowships
Bushmeat research from CIFOR
Sexual conflicts affect more female than male beetles! Click here to read the article.
In light of National Beer Day (October 26th), the Huffington Post covered an article on "9 Reasons Why Beer Is Even Better Than You Thought" - One of those 9 reasons is "drinking a beer a day could make women age smarter" as shown by a medical study. I guess I need to reconsider my abstinence from alcoholic beverages, especially beer!
"Galloping beetles could be counting steps" - A species of dung beetle has given up its ability to fly and instead gallops!
"Dung Beetles Follow the Stars" - Researchers at Sweden's Lund University noticed that dung beetles use the light of the Milky Way Galaxy to navigate.
"Beetles use dung balls to stay cool" - Researchers discovered that dung beetles use their dung balls to stay cool across the hot sand.