Ashe Co. NC
I grew up in Upstate New York, where getting outdoors was always an important part of my life. Whether it was skiing and hiking in the Finger Lakes, fishing around Lake Ontario, or riding my bike through the local county parks, I was happy to just get outside. I was fortunate enough to go to college close by at Cornell University where I learned that I could actually make a career out of exploring the very thing that was most interesting to me: the natural world.
Having visited the western half of the country a few times as a kid, it was always a dream to someday move to the mountains. So within a few days of my college graduation, I hopped on a plane to Colorado to start my first job as an avian field technician. I learned more about birds, geography, and myself that summer than probably any other time in my life. Most importantly, I learned that I was passionate about ecology and field research. So I bought a car, filled it with what few belongings I had, and traveled the country, jumping from field job to field job working for universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and really anyone that needed someone to collect data. But after 4 years, the field biologist lifestyle wore on me. I yearned for a position where I could be involved in the entire scientific process as opposed to simply collecting data.
At the end of 2010, I moved to North Carolina to start my Masters Degree at North Carolina State University. It was sad to leave the West, as I had fallen in love with the mountains, the rivers, the desert, and the lifestyle of traveling. My plan was to crank out a degree, and get back west as soon as I finished. Little did I know, I would come to fall in love with North Carolina. And then I fell in love in North Carolina when I met my wife. Since then I've worked for the state wildlife agency and returned to graduate school to pursue a PhD, again at NCSU. We still live in North Carolina, but I'm currently doing a postdoc at University of Florida.