About Jess

Jess is a native of Dayton, OH and developed an interest in science at a young age.  Her dream was to be a veterinarian.  By high school, those dreams had largely replaced by phrases like “girls can’t do math” and “girls aren’t good at science” so she went down a different path – to be an English teacher.  But something was missing.

So in 2007, she moved to Carbondale, IL to attend Southern Illinois University as a pre-vet major in Zoology.  She quickly met folks like Matt Whiles, Checo Colon-Gaud, and Jay McPherson who lit a new fire – entomology.  It was different.  It was fun.  It was everything she had been searching for.  So she ran with it.

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Jess climbing a 50′ loblolly pine tree to count oviposition niches on experimental logs.


In 2010, she finished her B.S. in Zoology and Chemistry and started a Masters program with Fred Stephen at the University of Arkansas Department of Entomology studying native woodwasps that live in pine trees in the Southeast.  In 2012, she finished her M.S. and decided to stay at the U of A for a Ph.D. in the same area.  In May 2016, she completed her Ph.D. in Entomology and moved on to the Great White North to be a Forest Health Specialist with the Minnesota DNR.

In there she also ran marathons, completed her 200-hr yoga training, got married to her best friend in the whole wide world, and adopted a lot of cats.  There will definitely be more to come….