When I was just a kid, I lived and breathed for the outdoors. Growing up in Florida with my home nestled in a woodland meant I could spend entire afternoons catching insects for my collection, observing plants, chasing lizards, and immersing myself in nature. For me, the outdoors were more fascinating and understandable than burying my face in a science textbook. Becoming an Eagle Scout over the years as a Boy Scout taught me a lot about the outdoors that I was itching to learn. I got to visit the Great Smoky Mountains every summer to see my grandparents, hike the trails, and continue to build my curiosity for exploring the world around me. When I was 14, my uncle got all the kids cameras for Christmas. My 3-megapixel Vivitar soon became an extension of my hand, and a way for me to document my adventures outdoors. With a strong passion for science and the Earth, my decision to pursue the Environmental Studies Bachelor’s program at Florida Southern College came as naturally as breathing. Along the path to my bachelor’s, I continued to hone my artistic skills and integrate the creation of visual media. After graduating, I decided to attend Duke’s Master of Fine Arts program in Experimental & Documentary Arts.
Over the course of my time at university, I gained important skills through various internships (US Forest Service, MOTE Marine Lab, National Geographic) and started to develop a client base as a multimedia professional (Ecological Society of America, North American Nature Photography Assn., and others). Now after 10 years, I’m using documentary mediums to express the beauty and importance of protecting Earth’s biodiversity. My work has started to gain international attention as a finalist for the Environmental Photographer of the Year in 2015, including coverage by BBC online, UNC-TV, gallery exposure including London’s Royal Geographical Society, and more. Last Autumn I was accepted into the Emerging League Program of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) – defined as “an elite group of the world’s top wildlife, nature and culture photographers who use photography to encourage people to take action in conservation measures”. This month my proposal for becoming a National Geographic Young Explorer was approved, for an upcoming expedition in Iceland this August (click here to read more).
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