B.S., Major in Biological Sciences - Wildlife Biology
Ball State University
M.S., Major in Biology
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ph.D., Major in Organismic & Evolutionary Biology / Entomology
I am a behavioral ecologist, and the avenue of research that I pursue has been influenced primarily by my interests in animal behavior, ecology, and evolution, specifically sexual selection and mating systems theory. My research program combines experimental approaches in the laboratory and field and falls into three general areas of inquiry: (1) studies of the underlying factors that affect male and female sex roles, (2) investigations of the evolutionarily meaningful costs and benefits of sexual behaviors, and (3) explorations of the interplay between intra- and inter-sexual selection. For these studies, I have concentrated on spiders as my study organisms because of the many advantages they provide in hypothesis testing. Research on the behavioral ecology of spiders provides ample opportunities to mentor undergraduate students. In my experience, conducting research and publishing results are the most inspiring and most rigorous ways to learn scientific principles. I strive to foster a productive and inviting environment for undergraduate research while engendering an atmosphere of mutual respect.