I was born and raised in San Diego, and was a member of the San Diego Zoo for my entire childhood. Once I graduated from UCSD and began looking into being able to get a job at the SDZoo I decided to leave San Diego for experience. I moved to Texas for a bird banding internship with the Institute of Bird Populations. After that I moved to Austin where I worked at the Austin Zoo. From there I moved to Wichita and got a part-time job in the Farms at the Sedgwick Co Zoo and from there got a full-time job with the bird department.
Once I became a full-time keeper I joined the Sedgwick Co Zoo’s AAZK chapter. I was active in the SCZ chapter for the 4 years that I was full-time and held positions such as secretary and vice president. For the years of 2010 and 2011 I organized and hosted the chapters Bowling for Rhinos events. In 2011 the chapter raised almost $5000 and had ~80 people in attendance, which is the most ever raised and the largest attendance in their history. I also organized and coordinated the World Penguin Day that the zoo held in the 2010 and 2011 years, which was an educational event that also raised funds for penguins around the world.
When I moved to the San Diego Zoo at the beginning of 2012, eager to continue my involvement in AAZK, I stepped in to fill the vacant position of Fundraising Officer and Event Coordinator for the San Diego chapter. I organized the AAZK San Diego Bowling for Rhinos events in 2012 and 2013, raising a combined $40,000 and setting the all-time fund-raising record for the event in 2013. Also in 2013, I started two new annual fundraisers – Pints for Preservation and Croctoberfest – to raise funds for two different in situ conservation projects. In 2013 and 2014, I arranged for the Tri-city Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon to contribute to AAZK San Diego as one of their official charities.
I am passionate about wildlife conservation and during my time serving AAZK, I have worked very hard at expanding our opportunities to contribute to conservation projects that are important to our members. My experience within AAZK at two different zoos, combined with my work ethic, initiative, and passion will serve me well in the position of president.
I like being a part of the AAZK San Diego chapter board because I believe in what AAZK is about. The ability for a keeper to take their passion for wildlife and conservation and directly raise money for the projects that we as a chapter decide on is such a great thing. I also want to be able to utilize my other talents that I don’t necessarily get to use on a daily basis in my career with the Zoo.