I first discovered diatoms as an undergraduate student at Loyola University Chicago where I participated in a research project on the effects of dam operations on diatom communities of the Colorado River. Then, my graduate work at Florida International University took me to the Everglades, where periphyton communities cover the landscape and provide habitat for fascinating diatoms, many of which are waiting to be described. My research focused on understanding how aquatic microorganisms come together to form complex communities, how the communities interact with their habitat in freshwater ecosystems, and how diatoms may respond to changes in hydrology associated with Everglades restoration efforts. At the Cary Institute in New York, I conducted mesocosm experiments on the effects of multiple contaminants (nutrients, drugs, road salt) on algal and bacterial biofilm communities in urban streams of Baltimore. Currently, I work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development in Washington, D.C. My research provides scientific support related to biological assessments, nutrient criteria, and evidence-based decisions. I am also working to improve diatom taxonomic consistency in large monitoring programs and serving as Chair of the Diatom Taxonomic Certification Committee. I hold an adjunct professor position at the University of Iowa and co-instruct the Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms course at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. I contribute to training and education about diatoms through the Diatom Web Academy.