I’m from Connecticut where I got my bachelor’s in environmental science and master’s in natural resources at UConn. During my time at UConn I had the opportunity to work on number of research projects using remote sensing to study a variety of ecosystems, from algal blooms in Long Island Sound and seagrass beds in the Florida Keys to the boreal forests of Canada and oak woodlands of northern California. I spent my first summer as a graduate student at NASA’s Ames Research Center working in collaboration with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to develop bird habitat maps that would be used for management decision making. The following year I spent several months working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory developing new methods for characterizing forest structure. The research, which became the subject of my master’s thesis, involved developing long term records of forest height and disturbance history using a combination of LiDAR, radar and optical remote sensing. I also had the invaluable opportunity of working in Dr. Heidi Dierssen’s COLORS lab on novel research using hyperspectral remote sensing to monitor and characterize coastal ecosystems. Our research has involved the detection and classification of algal and seagrass debris in the Florida Keys, characterization of seagrass beds in California and most recently the use of a hyperspectral imager aboard the International Space Station to identify algal blooms in Long Island Sound.
I am interested in how light interacts with vegetation and how relationships derived from those interactions can be used to monitor and measure ecosystems at multiple scales (leaf, suborbital and space). My research involves trying to understand the impacts of canopy structure on trait retrieval algorithms, the fusion of hyperspectral imagery and LiDAR to improve trait estimates and the development of multi-seasonal, cross-functional type leaf trait retrieval algorithms.
I also have an interest in electronics and optics, and as a hobby I’m working on developing open-source, low cost sensors for measuring light that can be used for ecological research and environmental monitoring. Right now I have couple of ongoing projects that I hope to finish by the time I graduate:
Other than that I enjoy swimming, watching UConn basketball and whenever I can I try to get out on the lake when the winds are howling to do some windsurfing.