Biography

I’m a postdoctoral researcher in Emilio Bruna’s lab at University of Florida working on the effects of drought and habitat fragmentation on a tropical plant. I’m interested in the mechanisms of plant responses to stress and their consequences for natural and agricultural ecosystems. My Ph.D. focus was on the effects of climate change and insect herbivory on the quality (flavor and health benefits) of tea (Camellia sinensis).

Interests

  • Chemical ecology
  • Eco-metabolomics
  • Plant demography
  • Statistics and programming in R
  • Tea

Education

  • PhD in Biology, 2020

    Tufts University

  • MS in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology, 2010

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • BA in Biology, 2006

    Whitman College

Projects

Effects of drought and habitat fragmentation on a tropical understory plant.

My postdoctoral project in the Bruna lab at University of Florida involves analyzing long-term demographic data from an experimentally fragmented tropical forest experiment in Brazil.

webchem

An R package for accessing chemical information from the web.

Use of partial least squares regression (PLS) in ecology

PLS is a powerful multivariate regression method that has many applications for ecological data. When is it best used, what are its advantages, and how should you report your results?

bumbl

An R package for modeling bumblebee colony growth

Climate Effects on Bug-Bitten Tea

Eastern Beauty wulong tea is only produced from tea leaves damaged by leafhoppers. The induced volatiles produced by damaged tea plants gives the finished tea a unique flavor. How will leafhopper damage change in a warming climate, and how will that impact tea quality?

Teaching

I’ve been teaching biology ever since I was 12 when I became an interpretive guide at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in my home town of Walnut Creek, CA. Since then I’ve taught science of all sorts to all ages in a variety of formats.

Selected Teaching Experience:

  • Ecological Statistics and Data. Spring 2020. I took over this course during my last semester as a PhD student as the instructor of record. I reorganized the syllabus and created new content to teach genearlized linear models and mixed effects models with ecological applications using R.
  • Biostatstics in R. Fall 2016–2018. Recitation section for BIO132 at Tufts University. In collaboration with Natalie Kerr in 2016 and Avalon Owens in 2018, we designed and taught this new course. Previously, BIO132 used SPSS rather than R and did not have a required recitation. Course materials available here.
  • Organisms and Populations. Spring 2015. Lab section for BIO0014 at Tufts University. I served as a graduate TA for a lab section of this course in a year when the course was being entirely redesigned. I actively participated in designing course materials and lab activities in addition to teaching my own lab section.
  • Introductory Biology. 2011 – 2014. I taught a guaranteed transfer credit lecture and lab course at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, CO where I was an instructor. My students came from diverse age, socioeconomic, and learning backgrounds. I designed lectures and assessment materials and engaged in revising lab exercises and course materials. I attended professional development workshops including an especially helpful one on teaching veterans.

Recent Posts

Treat your treatments as continuous

Taking a potentially continuous treatment, binning it into categories, and doing ANOVA results in reduced statistical power and complicated interpretation. Yet, as a graduate student, I was advised to bin continuous treatment variables into categories multiple times by different people.

Three ways to plot logistic regressions

If your data is just 1’s and 0’s, it can be difficult to visualize alongside a best-fit line from a logistic regression. Even with transparency, the overplotted data points just turn into a smear on the top and bottom of your plot, adding little information.

Looking under the hood with debug()

If you’ve ever tried to look “under the hood” of an R function, you know that sometimes it can be tricky to figure out what’s going on, especially if you use R more as a statistical tool than as a programming language.

COVID-19 pushed me to try something new in my classroom, and I loved it!

In March (which feels like years ago, now), when Universities started seriously thinking about their response to COVID-19, I was teaching Ecological Models and Data as instructor of record and finishing my dissertation up.

Hacking GLMs to fit population growth models

I’m currently teaching Ecological Statistics and Data, a class I inherited from Lee Brown and Elizabeth Crone. In a lecture on population dynamics, they do some really cool things with generalized linear model—things that I don’t think are standard practice and as far as I can tell from googling, aren’t well documented.