EDUCATION & CAREER
• Undergraduate: University of Chicago, B.S. Geophysical Sciences ’06
• Graduate: Drexel University, Ph.D. Biology ’13
• Current Position: Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow, NCSU Biological Sciences Department
I have loved dinosaurs since I was old enough to play with my brother’s toys, and, naturally, a passion for scientific investigation and exploration soon followed. However, growing up in the inner city on the South Side of Chicago left few opportunities for exploring the natural world, so every opportunity I got was precious. When I was in high school, I became part of a science outreach organization called Project Exploration, and in their programs, I received lessons in earth science, excavated fossils in the field, and travelled across the country, all for the very first time. After completing my B.S. at the University of Chicago, I worked as a Youth Outreach Coordinator at Project Exploration for two years, designing science curricula for students in the Chicago Public School system that included immersive paleontology field programs, docent programs, and after-school programs. I continued my academic journey as a graduate student at Drexel University, where for my dissertation I helped prepare and describe the recently announced dinosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani, one of the largest creatures to ever walk the Earth.
My research interests include the proteomic study of recent and fossilized bones using various techniques, including immunology and mass spectrometry. I’m currently focused on investigating the efficacy of discrete components of different bone protein extraction techniques for recovering low-abundance proteins in mass spectrometry, as well as applying optimized extraction techniques to archosaurs not currently in proteomics databases.
• I spent weekends and summers in high school writing people’s names in Egyptian hieroglyphs at the Field Museum in Chicago. I can now do Norse runes as well!
• I can solve any standard Rubik’s cube in about 5–10 minutes, as long as no one has ever broken it apart and put it back together to “solve” it—that messes them up permanently!