I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Akron in May 2016, with an interest in vertebrate zoology. My initial interest in research began after I participated in a study investigating gecko adhesion on wet fluoropolymer substrates in Dr. Peter Niewiarowski’s research lab. In the summer of 2014, I fully researched, designed, and executed a study investigating the effects of water on adhesive locomotion in geckos. After learning many critical research skills at the conclusion of both projects, I began rethinking my previous desire to pursue a career at a zoological institution or as a field biologist. With my newfound interest in research, my career goals changed dramatically and I decided to pursue a PhD in the Integrated Bioscience PhD Program here at the University of Akron. I continue my work on lizard adhesion and adhesive locomotion with co-advisors, Dr. Peter Niewiarowski (Department of Biology) and Dr. Ali Dhinojwala (Department of Polymer Science).
I was initially drawn to the Integrated Bioscience program because I had the opportunity to witness the productivity of integrated research during my undergraduate research experiences. The collaboration between the Niewiarowski and Dhinojwala labs allows us to investigate the adhesive system of pad-bearing lizards from numerous directions, discover previously unknown characteristics and patterns, and answer more complex research questions.