In 2001, I earned my B.S. in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During my time at IUP I discovered an interest in microbiology. I went on to earn my Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) in 2008. My dissertation focused on the process of live-cell antigen uptake by dendritic cells. While at GSPH, I had the opportunity to pursue my interest in emergency preparedness. In addition to my doctorate, I earned a Certificate in Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response from the Center for Public Health Practice. After graduating, I stayed at GSPH to work in the Center for Public Health Practice as a Project Coordinator for Public Health Adaptive Systems Studies (PHASYS – a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center) and MIDAS (Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study) Center for National Excellence. I was able to merge my interest in infectious disease with public health by working on preparedness related to an influenza pandemic.
While working in academia, I developed a passion for teaching and decided to move my career in that direction. I worked in the Biology Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for 5 years as an Assistant Professor, mainly teaching Microbiology labs and lectures. From there, I joined the Biological Sciences Department here at Pitt. I’m excited to have the opportunity to create an active learning environment in my lectures and to really engage students in the material.
Outside of academia, I have a wide variety of interests. To name a few, I am a volunteer on the Westmoreland County Animal Response Team, a founding member and board member for the non-profit organization The Proper Pit Bull which promotes proper pit bull ownership and responsible rescue through community partnerships, education, and positive training, and a Lead Trainer for obedience classes at Humane Animal Rescue in Pittsburgh.