My interest in herpetology began around the age of four as the result of my mother bringing snakes, turtles and frogs home for show-and-tell. Growing up in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada an area rich with wetlands was a wonderful experience for a budding herpetologist/biologist. A great variety of wildlife could be seen from my back door.
After graduating, with honors, from Guelph University, I spent several months in Australia where I was a research assistant on a cane toad research project (based from James Cooke University but performed in the Northern Territory). Although the focus of the project was to determine the impact of the introduced cane toad on native fauna, there were many opportunities for viewing, and sometimes catching, native fauna including marsupials, amphibians and reptiles. Our prize catch on one trip was a crocodile!
Upon my return to Canada, I attended York University for both my magisterial and doctoral degrees which both examined the effects of environmental contaminants on amphibian development and growth. After completing my doctoral degree, I did a postdoc in the Redpath Museum at McGill University (Montreal, Quebec).
Eventually, I found my way to Texas where I joined the Biology Faculty here at UMHB and this has been one of the best decisions of my life. We have seen a few changes in our department one of which has been the development of an integrative biology degree plan. During this time, my interests have shifted to the reproductive biology of plants and animals. What we once understood as being the facts of life about asexual and sexual reproduction are now being challenged. It isn’t so straightforward we’ve learned and there are multiple approaches to handling similar environmental challenges which makes for a less black and white world and more multiple shades of gray. The journey of discovery has been one exciting ride.
When not engaged in scholarly pursuits, I serve on the Texas Academy of Science Board as Collegiate Academy Co-Counselor and as the Chairperson of the Annual Meeting Committee. Here, at UMHB, I am Co-Sponsor of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society (along with Dr. Early) and serve on several departmental committees. Go Cru!