My interests

I am married to another atmospheric chemist (Lee), and we have two kids, Kai (12) and Alexandra (<1). I enjoy a variety of domestic endeavors and outdoor activities, especially road biking, and hiking with my dog and my new baby. We also have four cats to keep us company. I like to spend my spare time catching up with friends, dabbling in photography, and working in my vegetable gardens.

How I became a scientist

I have always been good at math and science, so when I applied to university, I decided to be a high school chemistry and math teacher. But during my last undergraduate year, I wasn’t enjoying teaching and I felt a desire to keep learning. I had worked in the summers in an atmospheric chemistry lab, and my supervisor asked me to consider coming back to graduate school. It was an easy decision, and five years later, including 8 months off after the birth of my son, I was graduating with my Ph.D. in Chemistry. At that point, I was drawn to the idea of traveling somewhere new, so I applied to a number of postdoctoral positions in the US. I accepted a position at NCAR doing airborne field work, which was a welcome change since my previous work was all laboratory based. I’ve since changed groups within NCAR, but I continue to work on aircraft research projects, and have been involved in nine airborne field studies on three different aircraft all over the world.

Noteworthy achievements

I work in the Trace Organic Gas Analyzer (TOGA) group at NCAR, measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Since joining the group in 2009, I have helped increase the number of compounds that we routinely measure from 25 to more than 70!