My Interests

My career and education have been defined by a love for connecting science with people that it can help. This interest had led me to work with science policy at the American Geosciences Institute, analyze the spread of efficient irrigation technology in Tajikistan and Brazil for a Fulbright research project and master’s thesis, work at a satellite analytics software startup aimed at helping farmers save water, and help international organizations understand how they can use satellite imagery to solve problems. As for hobbies, I love traveling (I’ve managed to visit over 40 countries) and doing anything outside (whitewater rafting, scuba diving, hiking, skiing, triathlons, camping, and cycling especially).

How I became a scientist

Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains I was always happiest when outside. I was also a bit of a shy and fearful kid so most of that time outside was spent alone, not venturing much further than my own backyard. This forced me to find creative sources of entertainment, most of which centered around experimentation with and maltreatment of insects—writing my name on blacktop with firefly butts, trapping caterpillars in jars to watch them become moths, putting different types of food on the sidewalk to see what ants preferred to eat (all I remember is that they all got stuck in the peanut butter). When I got to college and realized that these types of activities were not only accepted but cheerfully encouraged, and even had a name, ‘science,’ I was ecstatic. I’ve spent the past years doing my best to solve environmental problems—hopefully offsetting some of the bad karma from all those years of killing bugs.

How my work benefits society

The majority of my work has been focused on water conservation. Water access is a pressing issue, as so much of our ability to survive and live comfortably on this planet is dependent on it. There is a lot of interesting research and technology available to address water issues but a major challenge is spreading it. That observation has led me to work to spread technology through government, university, and private sector activities.