In undergraduate, I embarked on a non-traditional honors thesis for my very non-traditional honors program, Plan II at UT Austin. I chose to blend my love of science and liberal arts with a thesis dedicated to fictional nature writing. Usually there is fiction and there is nature writing and the two rarely obviously mix. However, I wanted to try my hand at this knowing that fiction sells far, far better than nature writing and I wanted my stories to appeal to very broad audiences.
So I developed a body of short stories based on “wild” places I knew well and experiences that stuck with me through the years. I received the Joynes Award for Creative Thesis from Plan II for this thesis. After that (with some hiatuses here and there), I have been editing a few of my favorite stories for publication in popular magazines such as Orion.
If you know of a great place to publish this type of literature, please email me. I would appreciate any and all suggestions, whether it’s in print or online.
I started a travelblog the second time I went to Kenya for research (summer 2009). I have kept it up ever since when I travel for research, conferences, or just for fun. Most of these are international but I have one adventure in the Florida Keys, sailing for a week. Enjoy!
Midway through my graduate career, I became fascinated by the concept of scientific storytelling through film. In 2010, I took a weeklong immersion workshop taught by the creators of ScienceFilm, Jeff Morales (of National Geographic Television) and Colin Bates (of University of British Columbia). Ever since then, I have wanted to make some movies, to try my hand at a type of storytelling far, far removed from the dry albeit very central world of peer-reviewed academic journal manuscripts. My passion for this is propelled by the relatively simple goal of exploring and mastering different ways of sharing science with a variety of audiences.
Right now, I am working on editing two shorts. These two shorts feature the work of two of my former labmates at UCD. Kevin Welch’s short focuses on the tough and invigorating fieldwork that his research crew does when surveying trees after forest fires in the iconic Sierras. Emily Peffer’s short takes a more lyrical bent and documents one day in her life researching aquatic invasive plants in an urban stream.
Please re-visit this page in the spring of 2017! These projects are in hiatus right now.