Current Position: PhD Candidate, Zapata Lab, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, UCLA
Research Interests: Plant speciation, evolutionary ecology, phylogenetics
BSA Service: BSA Member (2018-), PlantingScience Liaison (2019)
Other Service: Mentor for 3 undergraduate students (2018-); Teaching Assistant for 8 undergraduate courses (2018-); California Native Plant Society, Student Advisor (2019-2020); California Botanical Society, Student Meeting Planning Committee (2021)
Statement of Interest: As an undergrad I studied Politics and Psychology. My love for botany grew after finishing my degree, and after finding a community of botanists at my local chapter of the California Native Plant Society, and my interest in plant evolution was encouraged and fostered. Planning a native plant garden tour through CNPS, I met people who loved plants and enjoyed connecting people who shared this interest. This local organization showed me the power of a community like BSA to encourage a budding plant student to pursue their interests.
My non-traditional background required me to seek out unconventional educational opportunities to prepare for graduate school, such as plant ID workshops, local college botany courses, and volunteering in research labs. After making my decision to pursue botany full time, I pivoted from my consulting career and my work as botany field technician for the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. These diverse opportunities taught me that there are many ways to develop an interest in the world of plants. Through these experiences, the mentors and friends I made were so important in helping me fine tune my mission – to connect people with plants. BSA is an organization that helps me foster this mission through creating a sense of community and helping connect members with opportunities to develop their skills, network, and sense of possibility for their work.
The different avenues I pursued to enter into plant evolution research help me relate to botany students at many levels. As the BSA student representative, I would love to develop a program to help students find potential collaborators through activities that encourage open idea-generation and low-stakes discussions. This would look like a space, either virtual or at the Botany Conference, where students can openly discuss ideas and interests and find other people who are excited about similar topics. Formalizing such a space would hopefully energize and motivate students to become involved with other BSA initiatives and connect with both plants and plant people.
As the BSA student representative, I would love to:
- Create a space for students to discuss ideas and connect with other botanists with similar interests and with people who can expand their sense of possibility in botany
- Explore how to engage students in society activities by finding out how they can feel more connected and represented by the society
- Foster a sense of belonging and connection to plants and the botanical community for students at all levels at the Botany Conference and throughout the year