Welcome! My name's Maggie, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I'm an ecology PhD candidate at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (see my land acknowledgements for where I live and work here).
Although I was raised and schooled in Virginia, my PhD work takes me across the Atlantic, where I study community dynamics in South Africa and seasonal antelope movements in Namibia. In September, I'll be joining at team at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability to study elephant behavior in relation to widespread veterinary fencing.
In undergrad, I studied math, computer science, and Russian. In fact, I didn't take a single ecology class until I started at Duke. So, how did I become interested in the field? In a nutshell, my short post-bac career as a computer nerd at IBM taught me that I needed to use my skills to study the environment, spend time outside, and go back to my roots: a girlhood spent running around the forest with friends and siblings.
These days, find me plucking out new pieces on my classical guitar, trail running by the Eno, foraging with friends in Duke Forest, or playing cards with my family.
Musical Note: Much of my approach to the world comes also from my strong musical background; I tend to listen and absorb the sounds of my environment before anything else. Growing up, Thursdays were always for piano lessons, and in college I picked up choral singing with the William & Mary Barksdale treble chorus, the William & Mary Russian Music Ensemble, and an all-female Russian barbershop quartet of my own founding. After graduation, I formed a casual choral quintet, the Kalorama Camarata, in Washington, DC. Arranging, practicing, and performing with those ladies has been one of the highlights of my musical career. Nowadays, my musical itch is soothed by the dulcet tones of my Cordoba spruce-top parlor guitar, an expensive purchase made in the throes of early pandemic blues. 😅 I don't regret it!