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 under the mentorship of Dr. Emma Rosi. It was my first experience in an aquatic ecology lab and where I learned you can be paid to learn about nature! For my Ph.D. research, I worked with Dr. Evelyn Gaiser on examining how diatoms respond to changes in hydrology associated with Everglades restoration efforts and along the way, I described 3 new diatom taxa. During my post-doc at the Cary Institute in Millbrook, NY, 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 (ORD). My research provides scientific support related to biological assessments, nutrient criteria, and evidence-based decisions. I am also working to improve diatom taxonomic consistency and data quality in large monitoring programs and serving as Chair of the Diatom Taxonomic Certification Committee. Within ORD, I am in the first EPA division to have climate in its name, the Integrated Climate Sciences Division. My newest project is helping Alaska Native Villages develop holistic and Tribally driven research on understanding and responding to the effects of climate change (e.g., permafrost thaw) on solid waste management.

I also serve as Co-chair of the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) workgroup for the National Water Quality Monitoring Council. So far, I have no knowledge of a Korean American diatom researcher other than myself. I am open to speaking with and/or commiserating with anyone who feels alone in their lab or work community due to a lack of diversity. Please reach out to me if you wish to connect on that topic or to have an informational interview on federal government scientist positions.

Genera reviewed