I guess by some people's standards, I've lived a fairly interesting life. I grew up in a small suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and went to a high school in the middle of a cow pasture (which given the demographics of the school is extremely ironic). Since mindless indoor activities were strictly outlawed in my family, and I found other (and by far more exciting) ways to occupy my free-time. By the time I turned 6 I had my first pair of downhill skis, 7 a kayak and a horseback riding helmet, by 9 had ditched my kayak for a flat-water solo canoe (a Mad River Pearl, for those interested), and around 12 ditched the Pearl for my white-water canoe (the forever-classic Bell Prodigy). My summers were spent camping with my family and friends, and my winters were devoted to skiing and sledding.
Because of the demographics of my suburbia High-School, where the vast majority of students intend to become doctors and engineers, I wasn't overly exposed to Geology. Thus, when I applied to undergraduate programs (OK -you caught me, I only applied to one program), I applied with three stipulations: access to research opportunities, an equestrian program, and a high placement rate for Medical and Veterinary schools. I started out at Albion College studying Biology, Chemistry, and Anthropology and finished with a degree in Geology and a thesis in high-temperature geochemistry. How? Well, it was mostly because my Organic Chemistry professor asked me quite bluntly "if you don't like Biology, why do you want to be a Veterinarian?" Thanks, Dr. McCaffrey, without you I wouldn't have really discovered who I wanted to be when I "grew up"!
I managed to fit all of those activities that dominated my pre-teen life into my high school and college years. Although my high school ski racing career ended fairly abruptly with a couple of ankle surgeries (not related to skiing, I assure you), I picked up white water canoe racing and (more-so than my younger years) competitive horseback riding in college. I traveled down to Virginia a couple of times to compete in the ACA Collegiate Whtiewater National Championships a couple of times, and somehow managed an individual bronze medal and a team championship as a Freshman. I also was very active with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association showing in Novice Hunt Seat Equitation on the flat and over fences, and the Intercollegiate Dressage Association showing Lower and Upper Training-Level Dressage.
These days, I spend most of my "free" time (do grad students REALLY have free time?) riding horses and hiking with my furbaby, Roxy. Sadly, my Bell Prodigy wouldn't fit well in my DC suburb apartment, so it's still hanging out up in Michigan.
In my final few word about "myself", I of course have to spend a brief moment talking about my dog. Roxy (pictured in the image on the right), is my 9 year-old German Shorthaired Pointer whom I rescued 8 years ago. Although she spent 4 years living at home with my mom while I was at Albion College, I wasn't really given much of a choice as to if she came to Maryland with me. I believe my mom's exact words were "she's your dog, you're taking her". Not that I can really complain -she is pretty much my entire world. Naturally, as a member of a high-energy breed of hunting dogs, her favorite activities are sleeping and pretending that she is a farm dog. She has settled well into Maryland life, and pretty much comes anywhere with me that I'm allowed to take her.
CHEM 1223A · firstname.lastname@example.org