I am a broadly trained environmental scientist/ecologist who also realizes the importance of taxonomy, is amazed by the wonders of natural history, and is inspired by the lives of great naturalists and scientists who came before. I attended college close to home at Cook College in New Jersey and studied Chemistry for the first three years because I was advised by authority figures that there was no future majoring in any of the environmental studies. After a summer-term internship with one of New Jersey’s many chemical companies, I realized that a career as a chemist was not for me and I switched to a Biology major. It was during my senior year that my career mold was cast by my most influential professor up until that time – David Ehrenfeld, field ecologist. I then attended graduate school at the University of Virginia and studied Environmental Science which provided a broad base in the study of geology, hydrology, climatology and ecology. I studied seagrass epiphytes in Florida Bay under the direction of Jay Zieman and received phycology training at Friday Harbor followed by an introduction to the marine diatoms in Mike Sullivan’s lab. Prior to finishing my graduate work in 2006, I worked as a lab and field technician performing water quality analyses in the laboratory of Ron Jones at Florida International University. I post-doc’d with Jim Fourqurean studying water quality controls on seagrass and algal communities. Following my post-doc, I stayed at FIU as a research scientist where I continue studying seagrass and algal communities with a recent focus on benthic marine diatom ecology and taxonomy.