I was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico but after one year of living in the desert I decided I would rather be raised as a mountain kid in the foothills of Golden, Colorado and learn to ski by age 5. After graduating from Golden HS in 2006, I decided to travel across the country to South Florida where I attended the University of Miami and became a lifelong Cane. I received a B. S. in 2010 with a major in Psychology and minors in Chemistry and Sports Medicine, a degree I promptly put to use that winter by moving to Winter Park, CO to work at a ski resort. For the next 5 years, I snowboarded in the winters, raft guided in the summers (Colorado River, Clear Creek, and Arkansas River), travelled internationally (including a month in Peru), and managed to find time to work in various restaurants/bars in between these fun activities. After taking my raft down the Grand Canyon and Cataract Canyon (where’s Glen Canyon at?) in the summer of 2017, I re-focused on schooling and started a M.S. in Toxicology at Colorado State in the fall. During this time, I worked in the Borch Lab and the Hanneman Lab as a Graduate Research Assistant and received my M.S. in May of 2019.
In partnership with Cutrale’s Amelia Farm citrus grove in Florida, my research project is trying to determine the soil chemistry mechanisms at work with trees infected with Citrus Greening Disease (HLB). The orange trees on this citrus grove are all managed identically but have shown varying levels of resistance to the bacteria. We hypothesize that there are variances in the corresponding soil chemistry that are a primary contributor to increased levels of resistance in certain trees and the improved tree health that has been seen in some areas. We are identifying differences in the soil and water chemistry that could contribute to variance in nutrient cycling amongst primary nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous due to changes in the soil microbiome. These variances in soil and water chemistry could also contribute to increased water retention and decreased nutrient leaching, as eutrophication has been a major problem in Florida in the recent years. Our overall goal is to quantify all aspects of the soil chemistry and microbiome to determine the best agricultural management practices to increase overall tree health, improve the farm’s irrigation practices to decrease fertilizer costs, and improve environmental sustainability when possible.
For more details about the research conducted in the Borch group please click here.