Tell us about yourself.
I am a Colorado native. I spent most of my childhood in Conifer, where the natural world and animals were ingrained in my everyday life. Practically every waking moment, outside of school, was spent exploring and discovering the mountains and forests I called home. It was these experiences that drove me to pursue a career path in the animal field. I achieved my undergraduate degree from Colorado State University with a Bachelors in Zoology. With this degree, I began working for Denver Zoo as an intern working with seals and sea lions. I also spent some time as a seasonal keeper working with Denver Zoo’s ambassador animals, where I found my true passion for educating others about wildlife. Today, I now work with my favorite animal- kids!
When in your life/career have you been a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
As a G.I.R.L, I believe that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing it well. Through this lens, I was able to graduate from CSU at the top of my class as Summa Cum Laude, with a 4.0 GPA. I’ve also wanted to work at Denver Zoo since I was 7-years-old. So, you can say that I have achieved my dream job, and it was by being a go-getter and seeking out internships and seasonal work that I landed in my current role. At the Denver Zoo, I constantly strive to be a leader for the scouting community, a leader in conservation, and a leader in innovative educational programming. I am also currently in a leadership program through the zoo, in which only 12 employees are selected to go through an intense one year program filled with professional development opportunities and the completion of zoo-wide project.
What does it mean to “take the lead?”
Taking the lead means being the one that others look to for direction, guidance, and support. The leader that I strive to be is one that works hard to provide my team with the tools and resources they need to succeed. A good leader is only successful if the team is successful. A great leader once told me that “her goal is to ensure my goals are met!”
Why is it important for girls and women to “take the lead?”
It’s important for women to take the lead so that women can be recognized as leaders in all fields and industries, and so that we can continue to ensure we have an equal place in the workplace. Gender should not be a qualification for a particular position or level of pay. At Denver Zoo, we strive to empower and provide opportunities for all of the women that pursue a career in a science field. Science is no longer just a career path for men. I hope that my own career path can help lead other girls into the sciences!
What has helped you achieve success?
I have been fortunate to have numerous positive role models throughout my life and career; supportive and attentive parents, inspirational grandparents, and multiple mentors and leaders that I continue to learn from daily. I have also had people I didn’t know that provided experiences in my life that helped to shape my career path. The keepers at Discovery Cove in particular shared their contagious passion for working with animals, and that had a huge impact on me. I know that at Denver Zoo, I have the power to do the same with the young students that attend our programs and overnights. The potential of being this transitional person for others is MY highest form of success.
Were you a Girl Scout? If so, tell us about your experience and what is the most important thing Girl Scouts taught you?
I was a Girl Scout! The memory that stands out the most was our Brownie camping trip. I remember the bunks, the fire safety, and the Leave No Trace principles. This camping trip helped to strengthen my ever-growing love for the outdoors, and created an understanding that it is our duty to protect our wild spaces!