Laura received her B.S. in Animal Science from Cornell University and a M.Ed. in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona. She taught high school environmental science and biology courses for four years in Tucson, Arizona. While teaching, Laura was awarded a Partners in Science grant, allowing her to collaborate with a researcher at the University of Arizona, Dr. Gary Christopherson. With the help of high school field assistants, they conducted a study on the relationship between wildfire intensity and the abundance and diversity of montane birds populations. This project inspired Laura to return to graduate school and pursue a career in research.
In fall 2012, Laura joined the Department of Biological Sciences as a Ph.D. student in Dr. Ignacio Moore’s lab. She is interested in the relationships between environmental contamination, physiological stress, and disease. For her dissertation research, she investigated how environmental stressors affect reproduction in a model species, the red-winged blackbird.
Laura defended her Ph.D dissertation in May of 2017 and will soon start a post-doctoral position at Hamilton College. She will be co-supervised by Dr. Cynthia Downs (Hamilton College) and Dr. Lynn (Marty) Martin (University of South Florida). Their NSF-funded project investigates how immune function scales with body size in mammals, and they will be collaborating with zoos around the U.S. to conduct the study.