Life is about balance.

And I find that I enjoy science more when I nurture my other interests.

Unless there's a deadline coming up, you aren't likely to find me at my computer on the weekends. If I try to work, more often than not I end up burnt out and less productive than if I had taken the time off!

I love being active. I ski in the winter (a new obsession since moving to the Northeast), hike and run in the summer (half marathons are my favorite distance), and dance ballet year-round. I also like to nurture my creative side by singing second soprano in the local choir, crocheting blankets for everyone in my family, and painting more paint-by-numbers than I know what to do with!

Languages and Travel

I love languages, and I love the thrill of learning a new language. I've often said that if I hadn't pursued Environmental Science I would have pursued linguistics. On top of that, my family and friends are spread across 10 different time zones, from Southern California to Eastern Europe, so travel, languages, and cultures are a huge part of my life! So far I've visited 25 countries and speak three languages fluently: English, German, and Russian. (I could probably survive in a Spanish-speaking country if abandoned on my own, but have plans to become better in that as well.) Hover over the pictures below to learn more!


I started learning German in 2005 as a freshman in high school and participated in an exchange program while still in school. I minored in German and chaperoned the same exchange while in college, and worked in Northern Germany for a year and a half doing oceanography research. I'm now fluent in the language, the country is like my second home, and the people whom I know there are like family.


I was born and raised in a coastal town in Southern California, which is where my love for the environment and multiculturalism was born. I genuinely believe I grew up in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I want to work to preserve places like that for future generations. 


At graduate school orientation I met my now-husband, who happened to be an international student on exchange from Russia. Since meeting him I have taught myself Russian and visited the country several times. Because I have family in the country, I feel a special connection to its culture, history, and people. Sometimes it feels like my life is a daily cultural exchange!