2021 EPID Doctoral Ambassador Information
I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and call the southeast my home. My hobbies include spending time hiking or outdoors with my husband and our two dogs as much as possible. I earned each of my BS’s in Environmental Health Sciences and Entomology from the University of Georgia. Following these, I attended and earned my MS in Entomology, focusing on medical entomology from the University of Kentucky. I took a few years off after my MS, working at the Harris County Public Health Department in Houston, Texas in the Mosquito and Vector Control Division, where I conducted routine tick / tick-borne disease, kissing bug / Chagas disease, and mosquito / mosquito-borne disease surveillance. I chose USC for my PhD in Epidemiology because of its growing research in infectious diseases. I feel I have the opportunity to really enact change and help increase awareness and prevention of vector-borne diseases that are traditionally looked over in every-day public health.
I am interested in vector-borne disease epidemiology and ecology: anything involving mosquitoes, ticks, and kissing bugs, collecting vectors, identification, pathogen testing, and identifying environmental risk factors associated with these diseases.
My PhD dissertation will focus on Spotted Fever Group Rickettsioses in children from El Salvador from a cohort at high-risk for vector-borne diseases. Additionally, I will be looking into the distribution of tick-borne pathogen positive ticks in the country and utilizing GIS and modeling techniques to identify areas of risk.