While working at the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University, I became fascinated by ecology, in particular ecological genetics and its importance to grassland ecosystems and agriculture. At the University of Virginia, I earned my B.S. with a focus on agricultural genetics. After also working in the biotechnology industry, I am very excited to begin my PhD work with DR. MELINDA SMITH this fall. My research will focus on gene expression in natural grassland species at the beautiful Konza Prairie site in Kansas. I hope to integrate my findings with the critically important agricultural and biofuel industries.