I am a native Californian who has always been fascinated by living things. I was the kid who sat in the mud puddles digging up worms and feeding them to the robins. My love affair with the marine invertebrates began in the 7th grade, when my Life Sciences teacher introduced us to the diversity of the animal kingdom. Even though I did not grow up near the ocean, learning about the bizarre animals that live in the sea made me want to be a marine biologist. Despite being distracted by thoughts of medical school for a few years, I got back on track after taking a field course while I was an undergraduate at UC Davis. From then on it all marine biology, all the time, until I graduated with my Ph.D. from UC Santa Cruz.
The rocky intertidal is my favorite habitat in the natural world, with the redwood forest coming in as a close second. I am fortunate that living in the Santa Cruz area gives me so many opportunities to explore both of them. I enjoy learning about how these habitats function, the organisms that live in them, and the ways that our human activities affect them for good and for ill.
Along the way I discovered that I love teaching and mentoring students. There is nothing more rewarding than explaining a complicated subject to somebody and watching that light go on in their eyes when they get it! I began teaching at Cabrillo after graduate school and have been here ever since. I have also taught at CSUMB and UC Santa Cruz.
In addition to formal academic teaching in college and university classrooms, my career as a teacher includes educating the general public about science. I am always happy to speak to groups of people about science in general or topics of specific interest. To continue this type of science communication I also blog about natural history and write the occasional article for Bay Nature Magazine. I am a big fan of community science platforms such as iNaturalist and eBird, which allow people who are not specifically trained in science to contribute to the collection of robust scientific data. Create an account in iNat or eBird and see how easy and fun it is!