happy wilderness laurel


I grew up in a small town in West Texas. While the first decade of my life wasn't stereotypically Texan, the second certainly was. We actually lived in the country with cows, horses, hay bales, and oil rigs in our backyard. At 18 I loved reading, ceramics, and photography, and dreamed of becoming the next Madeleine Albright. I went to Georgetown University with the intent of joining the Foreign Service. That is, until I spent 28 days backpacking in the backcountry Wyoming wilderness with The National Outdoor Leadership School.

I fell in love with the natural world and changed my life. I changed my academic focus to Environmental Studies, studied abroad in New Zealand, and took as many biology classes as I could for the remainder of my undergraduate career. I worked in Dr. Martha Weiss' insect behavior lab and conducted my own experiments. After graduation I worked as a research assistant at Blandy Experimental Farm and then as Biosphere Science Coordinator for NASA's Global Change Master Directory.

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I wanted to conduct my own research from start to finish, so I moved to Colorado in 2013 to earn a PhD in Ecology and Evolution. I studied the effects of wildfire on insect communities across four different fires in Pike National Forest. This meant spending my summers collecting insects and camping in the woods, as well as spending the school year glued to a microscope counting over 200,000 individual insects and identifying them to order. I worked with wonderful grad students, undergrads, and collaborators, published scientific articles, and presented my findings at local and national conferences. I left this path at the end of 2016, after I discovered my passion for teaching yoga.

I am currently a yoga teacher and a first year student in Regis University's Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.