I am currently a staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute where I focus on the geobiology of hypersaline paleolake sediments as analogs for ancient lacustrine systems on Mars.
I attended the University of Illinois for my undergraduate education where I received both a B.S. in general engineering and a B.S. in biology through the schools Engineering/LAS-5 dual degree program. While a student at Illinois, I had several opportunities to participate in summer research internships with Honeywell, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Kennedy Space Center. I was also a cooperative education student for three years with The Boeing Company’s International Space Station Contract at NASA Johnson Space Center.
Upon my graduation from Illinois, I returned to NASA Johnson Space Center where I worked as a project engineer in the Crew and Thermal Systems division and developed habitation hardware for ISS astronauts. After two years working in human space flight I joined the Astromaterials and Exploration Science directorate as a research engineer and helped to develop prototype life & habitability detection instruments for robotic missions to Mars.
I left Johnson Space Center to pursue graduate education at the University of Colorado at Boulder where I obtained my M.S. in aerospace engineering science in 2008 and at the same time was awarded the prestigious NASA Harriet Jenkins pre-doctoral fellowship that allowed me to continue my education at Colorado School of Mines, where I obtained my PhD in 2015.