What is your job?
It’s an eclectic mix of things.
I am the administrative director for the Northwest Fire Science Consortium, which is a regional outreach program funded by the Joint Fire Science Program. The consortium is responsible for the dissemination of recent and relevant fire science to federal and state agencies in Washington and Oregon.
I’m also the director of the Master of Natural Resources program, our online master’s program within FES.
I also teach a senior capstone course for natural resources majors and advise graduate students.
What is your favorite part of your job(s)?
I love the variety, even though there’s a lot of moving parts, and a lot of trying to keep up and make sure that I’m up to date and meeting expectations. It certainly isn’t boring. It is a lot of variety. I really like interacting with students, that’s one of my favorite parts. They are so bright and interesting and different than I was as an undergraduate. They have a lot of passion.
You came to Oregon State in 2010. What was that journey like?
In my first life I was an actor, but I went back to school in my 30s and got my master’s in wildlife biology. After that I worked for the Washington State University Cooperative Extension, the University of Arkansas, then back to WSU as a regional extension specialist in Spokane. From there, a position opened up here. Originally, it was a collaboration between the PNW Research Station and College of Forestry Extension, and the development of the Consortium started from there.
What was it like making such a big change from acting to wildlife biology?
Well, I started acting when I was 12 in community theater, but it’s a very difficult career, and I had a lot of other interests. When I reached a certain point, I knew that if I didn’t explore them, then I never would, and that’s when I went back to school.
Do you miss acting?
Sometimes, but I don’t have any time to do it right now. I appreciate all that it taught me. For example, since acting isn’t stable and you’re never sure what your next job will be, I became very comfortable with that lack of stability, which helps me now in my position, which is funded mostly by soft money.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I like to ski, hike, kayak, cook. I’m also a Jazzercise instructor. Some people are surprised to hear that Jazzercise is still around, but it is, and it has been for 50 years!
What’s our favorite kind of food to cook or eat?
I love Italian food.
What have you been reading lately?
Right now I’m into everything and anything by neurologist Oliver Sacks. He writes about the neurological challenges people deal with in their lives. His work is an exploration of the human condition and who we are as people. He was a wonderful and sympathetic writer, and a true humanitarian.
Is there a skill or talent you’ve always wanted to learn?
I always thought it would be fun to play the cello. I took guitar lessons when I was a kind, but I don’t play any instruments now.
Are you a sports fan?
I love to watch women’s soccer and football. I follow the Beavers, but if the Beavers are playing Washington State, my alma mater, I try to remain neutral. I also follow the Patriots and the Packers.