Courtney and the sunset.

I am from a small town in Missouri, and have always had a healthy curiosity about the world around me. I developed an interest in biology during high school, and went on to receive a B.S. in marine biology from Northwest Missouri State University in 2015. During my time there, I worked with a professor studying aquatic microbial communities. This experience along with my background studying larger marine organisms led me to seek out a degree that would allow me to study the way that marine bacteria impact eukaryotic marine life.

I am working towards a master’s in Marine Sciences studying molecular exchanges between coastal heterotrophic bacteria and marine diatoms. This research is important because these types of interactions are the basis of the food web that sustains all life within the ocean. These exchanges also impact the cycling of major elements, such as carbon and sulfur, in the marine environment and have a significant impact on global climate. Despite this importance, much is still unknown about how and why microbes exchange chemicals in seawater. I’ve also helped establish a chapter of SciREN in Georgia, which is an organization that works to connect graduate student researchers with local educators to enhance science literacy in the community. I think that communicating current scientific research is important. When I graduate in December, I hope to pursue a career that allows me to blend scientific research communication with marine policy.

In my free time I enjoy traveling, backpacking, and hiking with friends/family. I also enjoy playing basketball, going horseback riding, and going to the beach.