I grew up on a farm that has been in our family since the 1700's in Holston Valley, right outside of Bristol. I have always been a science nerd and growing up on the farm gave me both a foundation in how nature works, but also an awe in the amazing complexity of our world and a drive to ask 'why?'. I attended Berry College in Rome, GA where I obtained a BS in Biochemistry and Animal Science (I was going to Vet school until I decided that 1) I didnt like cows that much and 2) I enjoyed research). I then went on to Texas A&M to earn a PhD in Biochemistry (because, in my naiveté, it was the broadest field and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life). I then spent 10 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then Research Assistant Professor in the Biostatistics Department. During that time I reinvented myself twice- first moving from bench work to Statistical Genetics and then to Bioinformatics- where I think I may finally have found my niche.
Although I had built a successful research career, I felt something was missing. I had always known that I wanted to return to my roots, both in terms of returning to the area and teaching at a liberal arts school. As much as I love the challenge of research, I missed the dynamics of the classroom and the interactions with students. Family is an important part of my life, and I could not pass up the opportunity to return home and join the King community. Teaching has pushed me to become a better scientist, which in turn makes me a better teacher.
In the spring of 2015, my second semester at King, I was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer (non-functional neuroendocrine carcinoma). As of summer 2015, I am cancer free after undergoing chemotherapy and surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Throughout the whirlwind of the few months between diagnosis and surgery, the support I received from my King family was an important part of my recovery. As I have said may times over, there are too many coincidences to be coincidence, the Hand of Divine Providence is most apparent. Between my eclectic academic background and my personal journey, I hope to serve as both an example and mentor to my students as they find their way to their own vocation.
I am committed to providing students with undergraduate research experience and have built a research lab where students can gain valuable experiences and skills exploring questions related to obesity, diabetes, neruodegenerative disease using the model organism C.elegans. I have, and will continue, to take students to local, regional and national research conferences so that they can begin to build their scientific community. I am also passionate about Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and mentoring young scientists.
I am blessed with a wonderful husband, a precocious daughter, fantastic friends and an amazing family. In my free time you can find me on the farm where I grew up, riding horses, spending time with my family and living life to the fullest.