I grew up in rural Washington County, Maryland. I graduated from Shepherd University, a public liberal arts school overlooking the Potomac River in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
My first “real job” was as a laboratory technician for Kraft Foods in a cultured cheese facility in southern Pennsylvania. It was at Kraft that I developed a working understanding of microbiology, quickly learning the difference between good microorganisms and bad ones. Trading cottage cheese for ice cream, I relocated to Richmond, Virginia, where I served as Quality Assurance Supervisor and later Production Supervisor for Good-Humor Breyers Ice Cream. After gaining valuable food science experience and establishing an enduring love for ice cream, I ventured across town to Philip Morris USA. During those years, I held various positions and received excellent training in the areas of statistical process control, project management, and database systems support. To further broaden my work experience, I then spent two years with Capital One as a technical writer of web-based multimedia in support of their credit card and direct banking call centers. In August 2005, I packed my buggy and returned to my microbiology roots when Dr. Sullivan moved her research lab from Boston University to Duke.
I have assisted with various projects in the Sullivan lab over the last several years, and it is a privilege to study the molecular and genetic intricacies of creation every day. My most recent contributions include investigating the genomic organization of the centromere on human chromosome 17, as well as participating in a collaborative multi-generational study of the epigenetic changes associated with autism.