I first became interested in ecology at a young age in my home state of Georgia. Through research at the University of Georgia and field studies in Malaysia, Panama, and Brazil my love of the tropics developed. I did a thesis on the efficiency of cracking palm nuts by capuchin monkeys in Brazil. Following my undergraduate degree I worked in ecotourism in Costa Rica and then taught as a teacher assistant at an elementary school in Texas before beginning Peace Corps in Malawi working in community based natural resource management. This was a life changing experience that got me interested in community development and agricultural practices. Upon my return to the USA I spent a a little over a year working on small farms in Massachusetts and Washington. Now I have joined CSU to pursue a Ph.D. with the help of my advisor professor Robin Reid. I hope to study community-based conservation in pastoralist communities in Kenya and am thrilled about learning through the GDPE program.