How did you initially become interested in your specific field of study?
I became interested in the field because of the impact climate change has on our communities here in Alaska. It was only natural that energy, one of the major causes of climate change, would become a fascination. One community that inspired me drastically was Shishmaref which is facing evacuation due to the rising temperatures.
What attracted you to pursue graduate studies at UAF?
UAF happened by happenstance. I was never planning to attend higher education, but I don't regret it as I get to work with a fantastic committee: Dr. Cam Carlson (CBSM), Dr. Kristin Timm (IARC), Dr. Erin Trochim (ACEP), and Dr. Matt Heavner (Los Alamos National Laboratory).
What motivates you? What do you think is important about your work?
One thing that motivates me is having people's voices heard when mitigating and adapting to climate change.
Have you faced any challenges in your pursuit of graduate studies?
It felt like I had many challenges in education as a first-gen and non-traditional student with limited income and ADHD. But I survived a bachelor's and a master's, and currently surviving my Ph.D. because of an amazing group of people supporting me, including Trio Student Support Services, the instructors from CBSM who deal with my craziness regularly, and my friends; and stubbornness, being too stubborn to give up does help.
What are the next steps in your career?
My goal is to pass comprehensive exams this upcoming spring and be able to graduate in 2025. Honestly, I have no idea what I will do after graduation. All I know is just keep swimming.
What advice would you give to incoming or current graduate students?
1) Be passionate
2) Ask the stupid questions
3) Set small goals and celebrate the small achievements
4) Don’t be afraid of failure
5) Don’t walk alone on this journey