I was born and raised in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York. What follows is a bit of my educational background:
- BA, Psychology (Minor in Animal Behavior)
I actually did my undergraduate degree at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY… where I now work! The Animal Behavior, Ecology, & Conservation department did not exist at that time. I instead chose to study Psychology primarily, with a focus on Animal Behavior. I spent two years working in a research lab studying orcas and belugas. I also spent a summer as a naturalist intern with Cape Ann Whale Watch & Ocean Alliance in Gloucester, Massachusetts; two amazing organizations with amazing people!
After completing my BA, I spent a bit of time traveling. I worked briefly as a research assistant in the Pacific Northwest studying orcas before realizing that my true passion was actually in educating people about the natural world and non-human animals.
- MA, Environmental Conservation Education
I moved to New York City for three years to earn my master’s degree at New York University in the Steinhardt School of Education. The program I enrolled in was very interdisciplinary and allowed me to explore diverse interests in the philosophy of education, environmental ethics, and international education. I spent two summers as working at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Education Department, first as a teaching fellow at the Bronx Zoo and then as an intern in the International Education program. After graduating, I got a job at the New York Restoration Project as an Aquatics Educator. I then spent a summer in Costa Rica, teaching high school students about sea turtle ecology with Broadreach/Academic Treks. I would spend another summer with Broadreach in 2008, teaching a course about marine mammals on Vancouver Island and another course about primates in Costa Rica & Panama.
- PhD, Environmental Studies
I moved to Toronto, Ontario in 2006 and began my PhD at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. I worked with a lot of great people at York, including my amazing supervisor Leesa Fawcett and my wonderful committee members, including Cate Sandilands, Mora Campbell, Don Dippo, Steve Alsop, and Susan Moore. I completed comprehensive exams in Environmental Ethics/Ecophenomenology and Childhood Ecology & Development. My dissertation, “On Lifetimes: Children’s Experiences of Companion Animal Death” was nominated for the Dissertation Award at York University. My dissertation research also earned me a prestigious fellowship with the Animals & Society Institute in 2011. During my PhD, I was able to work with a few organizations, including the Jane Goodall Institute & Earth Rangers. I continue to serve as Educational Advisor for Earth Rangers.
In 2014, I was hired into the ABEC department at Canisius College where I now teach both undergraduate courses and graduate courses in our Anthrozoology Master’s program.
I live in Fort Erie, Ontario with my partner Sean and our dog Penny.