I am a paleontologist and geoscientist working at the intersection of science, policy, and communication. As a citizen and scientist, I feel it is my responsibility to engage with the policy making process and ensure that science and scientific methods are brought into the larger policy dialogue. As the 2016-2017 AGI/AAAS Science and Technology Policy Congressional Fellow, selected and funded by the American Geosciences Institute, I began a life-long dedication to science, policy, and service to my country.
As the AGI/AAAS STPF Congressional Fellow, I am serving in Senator Tom Udall’s (D-NM) office, working on issues related to climate, energy, the environment, natural resources, water, and agriculture. As a native New Mexican, it is an honor and privilege to be part of Senator Udall’s team and helping to solve problems and give back to my home state.
In January, 2018, I will begin my tenure as a AAAS Fellow in the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs.
My policy interests vary widely. As a geoscientist, I am naturally drawn toward issues that are directly informed by my field, including climate change, environmental conservation, energy, water and natural resources, and the relationship between climate change and national security. My past experience in teaching both in formal and informal settings fostered an interest in STEM education, particularly in relation to engaging underrepresented and underserved groups.
My doctoral research focused on patterns and processes involved in the preservation of leaf fossils, using integrative experimental, statistical, and fossil-based analyses. My research stems from my background in geology, paleontology, and biology by combining sophisticated analyses of leaf fossils with observations of modern plants and processes. This integrative approach gives greater insight into the process of leaf preservation and allows a more in-depth understanding of the nature and content of the fossil record. Individual projects include a study on exceptional leaves from New Caledonia, analysis of the Carboniferous ecosystem from Mazon Creek fossils and decay experiments, testing rates of decay in a suite of modern plants and comparisons with fossil counterparts, and the first paleobotanical analysis from a marine formation in Jamaica.
B.A. in Music and Geology, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, 2011
M.Phil. in Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2014
Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, Defended 2016/Graduated 2017