Even though I identify as a biologist on paper, in reality I am an interdisciplinary scientist with a wide range of educational and working experiences. I find purporse in applied research and enjoy this kind of work. In general, these three questions can sum up my primary areas of interest and, thus, the fundamental themes of the several research projects on which I have worked:
- How are human-induced landscape changes (habitat fragmentation, climate change, restoration efforts, etc.) affecting our ecosystems? What alternatives or potential solutions can we find?
- Can we link this organism's biological evolution to the environmental changes we observe?
- How can we (researchers) ensure nature’s needs are at the fore-front of political decisions?
In 2019 I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BSc. in Biology. This degree focused on human health, life sciences, ecology, statistics and designing experiments/projects. Before graduating with my bachelors, I did an exchange semester at the University of Sydney, Australia where I completed a thesis over the evolutionary biology of feral honey bees in New South Wales to provide locals with management strategies. In 2022, I graduated from Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) with a MSc.in Biology: Human ecology. This degree focused on human-ecosystem interactions, anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity and devising possible conservation measures. This program tackled social-ecological case studies that revealed the impacts humans have on the resilience of our ecosystems and ways to combat negative effects. There, I completed (and published) my master’s thesis titled Diversity of perspectives in biodiversity conservation: A case study of port land use in Antwerp and Rotterdam.
In 2019, I worked in an evolutionary biology lab as research assistant processing and analyzing coral DNA extractions. This research was a part of various coral reef restoration projects to combat coral bleaching in the warming Floridian ocean. In 2021, I worked as a research intern at MOBI- VUB (Mobility, Logistics & Automotive Technology Research Centre) as part of the Life Cycle Assessment Team. There, I completed a project on LCA of e-commerce market supply chains in Belgium to compare carbon footprints and find sustainable alternatives. In 2022, I worked as research intern at the Instituut voor Natuur en Bosonderzoek (INBO) alongside expert ecologists within INBO and NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research). There, we studied the hyperbenthic and terrestrial composition in the Scheldt Estuary to make conclusions about the water quality. These conclusions directly influenced biodiversity conservation policy initiated by the Flemish Government. I also volunteered on projects related to aquatic bird surveying, vegetation sampling and monitoring, and soil nutrient analysis in-and-around the estuary.
Since moving to the Netherlands at the end of 2022, I have started working as a junior researcher/trainiee at Wageningen University and Research. This traineeship focuses on utilizing an integrated strategy to address complex social-ecological challenges, such as climate change, nature restoration, and other issues in order to conduct research in support of decisions made in regards to the nitrogen crisis.