I am a PhD student in Biology in the University of Washington. My area of interest focuses on the intersection of sleep and circadian rhythms in humans. Specifically, I am interested in the way that weekly sleep patterns influence academic performance and mood in students. We currently have two projects focused on this question. The first is looking at sleep and academic performance in college undergraduates. We partner with professors here at UW to record sleep and collect academic data for several weeks during the quarter. We then return the data to the students in order to teach them about hypothesis testing and formulate scientific conclusions on "live" data. This collaboration provides the students with a valuable learning experience while providing us with important data.
The second project is focused on local Seattle high school students. Last year, Seattle Public Schools voted to delay their start times for their high schools by one hour on average. We would like to know what impact this new schedule has on their students academic performance, retention, sleepiness, and mood. Our hope is to inform other schools around the world who may be considering delaying their start times. We also return the data to the students for a similar learning experience like we do with the undergraduates.
I graduated summa cum laude in 2013 from the College of Wooster with my B.A in Biology. As an undergraduate, I received the Horace N. Mateer award in Biology and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Here at the University of Washington I have received the Top Scholar Award and the Riddiford-Truman Fellowship from the Department of Biology and was an Honorable Mention recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. I have also spent the past two years mentoring underrepresented youth interested in STEM fields at a local high school and doing outreach at several local middle schools. After I complete my PhD I hope to find a faculty job where I can mix research with teaching and outreach.