I grew up around Claremont, California and have been enamored with plants since I was young. Although I had the opportunity to frequently go camping and hiking in southern California during my childhood, it was only when I went to New York for my undergraduate education that I fully appreciated the remarkable diversity of California's plants. While attending Vassar College I double majored in Biology and Women, Feminist, & Queer Studies, exploring a variety of approaches to plant research including restoration ecology, plant ecophysiology, invasion biology, biodiversity collections management, and feminist science studies. My work included 3 years of applied work on The Preserve at Vassar, a year of herbarium digitization, and a senior thesis on the topic of queer botany. While I’ve become familiar with––and incredibly fond of––the native plants of New York’s Hudson River valley, I am excited to return home to California and learn more about the plants that sparked my passion for botany.
For my master's thesis, I am currently working on writing a flora of the Jennie Lakes Wilderness and Evans Grove Complex in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California. This unique study site is surrounded on three sides by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and boasts nine giant sequoia groves, six glacial lakes, and numerous meadows, all spanning an elevational range of 5,000 feet. The area has been heavily impacted by fire in recent years, including major events in 2010 and 2015 which together covered about 50% of my study site. Although fire is a well-documented necessity for the regeneration of giant sequoia groves, the recent increase in the frequency and intensity of fires may pose potential risks to both the sequoias themselves and the remarkable diversity of rare species that grow in their vicinity. Despite its close proximity to national parks, my study area is relatively understudied botanically which will make future assessments of community change difficult. I hope to provide a clear baseline for future research in the area with my flora, working alongside the other researchers and organizations currently stewarding the region to advance our understanding of these plant communities.