I grew up in rural South Carolina where my parents owned at 45 acre farm. Mostly the property was wooded but we had a large garden, where I first cultivated an interest in agriculture.
After graduating high school I moved to volunteer at a school, started by my namesake, on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona. I saw the effects that food had on creating community and social progress. I decided to study Agriculture. I began my studies Berea College in 2007 where I worked on the student farm and with the value added products initiative. It was at Berea that I was first introduced to the ideas of agroecology that illumine my research today.
I got married in December, 2010 one day before graduating college. My husband and I then moved to Florida where I completed my Master's degree in Horticultural Sciences at UF. Upon graduation I began with Syngenta in the Biological Control Unit, where I first started working with Pasteuria spp. I will be continuing that work for my PhD in Dr. Mengistu's lab. I will be attempting to articulate the fundamental biology surrounding Pasteuria nishizawae. I will examine the effects of temperature and availability of micronutirents in the expression of the sporulation genes of this fastidious bacterium. I also plan to conduct whole genome comparisons of the originally characterized P. nishizawae to geographically diverse isolates found in North American.