Assistant Curator, Schlinger Chair of Arachnology
I study the patterns and processes of evolution in scorpions and their fascinating venoms, spiders, and whip spiders. I am particularly interested in the interactions between biota, geology, and climate that have lead to the present-day assemblage of life on Earth. I feel that by understanding the history of life on Earth, we can make better informed decisions for enabling the present-day flora and fauna to continue to adapt and evolve.
I am passionate about public engagement and science education, and by empowering students and citizen scientists—both in the U.S. and abroad—I strive to share the inherent wonder in the scientific process of research and discovery. I'm also committed to increasing global access to science tools and education, which lead me to co-found the science and education non-profit Islands and Seas as well as the (rapidly growing) visibility campaign 500 Queer Scientists. I'm currently building a global network of small research and education stations on islands and along mainland coastlines where local residents, scientists, and tourists can work together help conserve unique natural resources.
Prior to joining the Academy, I traveled extensively in the Caribbean region as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, studying biogeography of arachnids in one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. My masters and doctoral dissertation was completed at the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the City University of New York, and focused on the medically important North American scorpion genus Centruroides. My undergraduate degree was done in the middle of the magnificent Chihuahuan Desert at the University of Texas at El Paso (Go Miners!). When I'm not sailing around the Caribbean islands or trekking through Chocó forests at the intersection of South and Central America, you can find me basking in the fog at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach.