I remember as kid loving to explore nature, to take things apart and see what really makes things work. That love of exploring and discovery stayed with me. As an undergrad student at the University of Iowa in the department of Environmental Science, I have a multidisciplinary background in biology, chemistry, and earth sciences. I am also part of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) at the University of Iowa where we work on various projects promoting sustainability. My time spent at Lakeside Laboratory in the Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms under instructors Mark Edlund and Sylvia Lee further accelerated my growth in academia studying diatoms and their importance as environmental indicators.