I’m an ecologist interested in animal migration at high altitudes, particularly insects and bats. My research is driven by a deep desire to conserve and protect biodiversity. I created this web site to collect information about life in the night sky and I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.
I’m currently a research specialist with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I received my Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology working with Gary McCracken at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2014. After that, I worked as a postdoctoral scholar studying migratory bats with Justin Boyles at Southern Illinois University.
Before coming to Tennessee, I completed a Master’s degree in Biology (Ecology and Systematics) in the LeBuhn lab at San Francisco State University. My undergraduate degree was in Information Technology from the School of Business at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. You can see or download my CV here and view my publications here.
Becoming a scientist
As a kid, I was interested in biology from at a young age. However, I listened to my parents who told me to study something more “practical.” I worked in a wide variety of software product development and management positions at Hewlett-Packard and Oracle, as well as at a small Internet start-up. But I never forgot my dreams. Finally I worked up the courage to start taking basic science classes, and loved it. After many years, I was lucky enough to turn my interest in the natural world into a career. After I ran out of night classes, I quit my job, and never looked back. I am very grateful that I had the good fortune to take this giant risk.
While I was studying to become a scientist, I leveraged my corporate leadership experience by serving as a board member and then board president of the non-profit San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. You can read more about my transition and becoming a scientist on my first blog.
On this site I have collected general information about life in the night sky, or nocturnal aeroecology. You’ll also find information specifically about my own research and publications. I try to regularly add blog posts covering different aspects of aeroecology and migration research. I also periodically post entries about other aspects of ecology or with my perspectives on research and conservation. For the latest news and my takes on aeroecology research and conservation, I encourage you to Follow @batgrrl me on Twitter. Or feel free to send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!