“I liked that UWA was a smaller school, and I loved the Biology Department. The University of West Alabama felt very welcoming and there were a lot of classes offered within the biology major. I had field-based classes, I went on a week-long camping trip in the mountains with one of my classes, I went to Florida with my Subtropical Ecology class and we went from North Florida all the way down to the Keys. That was one of my favorite memories at UWA. I was very active in Beta Beta Beta, where I had a lot of friends. Livingston was a really good area for people who enjoy the outdoors. There was a lot of public land and a river nearby, so we would have impromptu fishing trips,which was fun. Toward the end of my biology degree, I realized that I really enjoyed research. I stayed at UWA to get my master’s degree. I got the chance to go to Russia twice for research. That was one of the coolest experiences of my entire life. I want to stay in academia. I really like the freedom of being able to generate my own research ideas and pursue them.”