What are the reasons for your interests? Analyze your childhood. How were your interests shaped from your upbringing?

The reasons for my interests come from my general enthusiasm for learning and reading about everything. I chose science because that seemed to be my strength, which derived from my curiosity in nature. From an early start, I was capturing frogs and insects during my walk in the nearby woods. I explored the cool streams running through the dense woods and searched for crayfish and anything else living in the waters, which were too shallow for fish.

As I grew up, my interests evolved around subjects in school, particularly in biology, chemistry and physics in high school. These interests were furthered in time spent in the deserts and forests of Arizona, where we moved when I was in my teens. The desert was not totally new to me, having visited relatives in Phoenix several times before moving there, however, out exploring the desert on my own was new. I checked under every rock, cactus and bush looking for signs of life. I found many incredible insects and invertebrates including scorpions. But seeing rattlesnakes was the goal and when it happened, much scarier than I would have liked. I eventually grew to be cautious of them and now snakes are still a favorite, without the fearfulness of youth.

My passion for science has continued as I have become an ecologist, but I still am interested in chemistry and physics. However, ecology is where my heart is, I have done research in deserts, forests, streams and lakes. Finding new species (to me at least) and oddities of these, still excites me. I am glad to have a strong inquisitiveness in the natural world.

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My other passion has been in trying to preserve the natural world and to help meet the challenges of a changing environment, especially with global climate change.