How long have you worked at the Memphis Zoo?
What is your educational background?
Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology and Neuroscience minor from
Rhodes College, studied behavioral neurobiology research and published paper Aggression
and Sex-induced Neural Activity across Vasotocin Populations in the Brown Anole,
studied developmental neurobiology as relates to cerebellar granule cell
migration in juvenile mice at St Jude Children's Research Hospital (Dr. David
Solecki lab), study in Namibia, Africa at EHRA (Elephant Human Relations Aid)
and CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund)
What interested you to pursue your current career path?
I have always been fascinated by the natural world. To
me, marine biology is one of the most interesting fields of biology as there
are still undiscovered and uncharted facets, and the environment for species
under study is completely different from our own.
Briefly describe what your typical day looks like.
My day starts with a broad range of water testing and checking
of equipment monitors and animals. Every day is different in our exhibit, but
most often consists of daily maintenance of an extensive life support system,
guest interaction and animal enrichment or training, addressing any health concerns
and making observation of behavior, feeding and preparation of the next day's
diet, networking with supervisors of exhibits at various zoos across the
country, and brainstorming novel enrichment ideas.
What is your favorite Zoo memory?
My most exciting and memorable experiance was preparing
for and watching several Cownose stingray births, and the subsequent care of a
large number of babies born at our exhibit.
What is your favorite animal (and why)?
Stingrays, and not simply because they are the main animal in my
exhibit. Stingrays are incredibly intelligent and responsive to
interaction. I call them "sea dogs".