Ph.D awarded on September 9, 2013. I am a graduate of the University of Southern California, Earth Sciences Department. My research interests are primarily in avian evolution and the use of phylogenetics to study Cretaceous bird diversity. In particular, I am interested in resolving the systematics of a group of Late Cretaceous marine birds called hesperornithiforms. As an undergraduate, I did research on the molecular systematics of modern birds at William Jewell College and Brigham Young University. As a master's student at the University of Tennessee I worked on developing molecular techniques to use anaerobic enteric bacteria as indicators of surface water contamination.
I am a graduate student in the Integrative and Evolutionary Biology Ph.D. program at the University of Southern California. I am interested in morphological variation, both within and between species, as well as functional morphology and adaptations for feeding and locomotion in theropod dinosaurs and squamate reptiles. Recent advances in computing and software technology are opening new lines in inquiry in functional morphology. My research combines relatively new techniques such as three-dimensional CT reconstructions, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Geometric Morphometrics with more traditional morphometric and kinematic techniques.
In addition to my graduate studies, I teach gross anatomy to first and second year medical students at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and have a tremendous passion for teaching. I feel teaching is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers available. It gives me a chance not only to make a difference on an individual level by helping students understand areas that they are struggling in, but also to make a difference for society as a whole by helping to train the next generation of medical professionals.
I did my undergraduate work at the University of Texas-Austin in Geological Sciences and Anthropology. I have received a master's degree in Environmental Science from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in Anatomical Sciences from Stony Brook University.
I have conducted field work in the Morrison, Cloverly and Sundance formations in Wyoming as well as the Cloverly, Two Medicine, Judith River and Hell Creek formations of Montana.