I was born September 23, 1979, in Dallas, Texas and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I discovered my love of science early in biology class at Bishop Kelley High School. After graduating in 1998, I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana to attend Loyola University. There, I majored in biology with a minor in environmental studies. I graduated in 2002.
For the next two years, I worked as a biologist in New York, California, Kansas, and Oklahoma studying vegetation restoration, and coastal and grassland bird species. After deciding to continue my education, I moved to Gainesville, Florida in 2004 to get my Masters of Science degree in soil and water science. There I studied wetlands and water quality with a focus on nitrogen cycling. During this time, I also participated in research projects related to carbon cycling and climate change in Alaska.
After graduating, I began work for NASA in February 2007 in Moffett Field, CA. At NASA, I work with microbial mats with a focus on photosynthetic efficiency measurements.