I was raised in Oakland, California, hiking in the East Bay Regional Parks, attending zoo camp every summer at the Oakland Zoo, looking for salamanders and fossils in my backyard (in the middle of the city—I found salamanders but not fossils), and being the proud owner of fish, hamsters, desert tortoises, a cat, a dog, and, for a short time, hundreds of pet hissing cockroaches (they bred!). For my undergraduate, I attended the University of California Santa Barbara and received my degree in Aquatic Biology. At that time, I worked in the campus aquarium and, in my last year, in a lab that monitored invertebrate larval settlement out of the ocean column along the coast of Santa Barbara. After undergraduate, I interned in the prep lab and genetics lab at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) at the University of California, Berkeley where I worked in a museum setting for the first time and discovered my interests in phylogenetics, biodiversity, and natural history. As a result of my experience at the MVZ, I pursued a Master’s Degree at Villanova University, studying the phylogenetics of southern Africa skinks. I returned to a museum for my PhD, studying at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History (SNOMNH) at the University of Oklahoma. My dissertation focused on the phylogenetics, biogeography, species-level diversity, and locomotor capacities of Lygosoma group skinks in the Old World tropics, with an emphasis on Southeast Asia.