For me, it’s been animals since day one. My parents would recount that I would be drawn towards any toys that were animal-themed, leaving the dolls and dress-up on the sidelines. I grew up in the agricultural town of Greeley, Colorado, having an early affinity for horses and livestock. We lived in the city, so I found any and all outlets for animals that I could. I was constantly campaigning for more pets to be added to our household, no matter the species.
I left my hometown after graduating from an arts magnet high school to go to college at Colorado Stat University in Fort Collins and earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology there, with a special interest in animal behavior. Working with animals had been my dream since I was six, and I was grateful to go to a college that had such specific coursework to kickstart that dream. While studying for a science degree, you could find me on the marching band field and in the University Center of the Arts to see the newest stage show. I sincerely believe that the arts and science go together, and I’m positive that that combination was why my college days were so incredible. I continue to carry those passions on during my keeper days as well.
After college, I dove head-first into animal care internships. I started in Texas on a ranch turned animal sanctuary and worked closely with tigers, chimpanzees, small primates, exotic hoof stock, as well as 400 head of horses, donkeys, and other equines.
My adventure then took me to work at a zoo on a resort in West Virginia, opening my world up to many species including red panda, lemur, kangaroo, Burmese pythons, hellbender salamander, meerkat, spectacled bears, zebra, and my favorite, reindeer. I was able to secure a seasonal keeper position during my internship working with the reindeer and conducting encounters during the holiday season. Between my early love of horses and continued work with hoofstock, it was here where I really fell in love with both the animal care and public education keepers are able to perform.
I said goodbye to West Virginia to head to Alaska to work with bears! It was here I also befriended Ryan and Sam (they joined Oasis in 2020), and then was hired on as a full-time keeper for the bears. Working closely with brown and black bears was an absolute joy, and doubled my love for the field. I enjoyed my island life for a year and a half before the travel bug bit me again, and found myself moving home to help support my family during the Covid-19 pandemic. Job hunting back home was difficult due to the pandemic, but thanks to Ryan and Sam’s encouragement, 2021 and the travel bug has landed me here at The Oasis! It’s been a breath of fresh air to be back in the animal care field and in my own space here. When I’m not at work, you can find me gaming online with friends, at the theater checking out new movies (pre-pandemic), checking out the latest animation news, streaming my favorite Broadway theatre original soundtracks, or caring for my Ball Python, Bo.