Class 3: When They Joined EWCL


David Daballen is a field officer with Save The Elephants and is in charge of Long Term Monitoring. This involves extensive recognition of individual elephants within our study area of Samburu, Kenya. Before joining STE full-time, David worked with Kenya Wildlife Service for two years on internship capacity. He was born in Northern Kenya, one of the most remote parts of the country. He received first class honor at the College of Wildlife Management in Tanzania. Since then he did a scientific paper on Samburu and Buffalo Demographics (in the African Journal of Ecology as a second author). He was then featured in an article on Samburu’s elephants in National Geographic Magazine’s September 2008 issue, and finally David was one of the core presenters in the recent and famous BBC film Secret Life of Elephants (January 2009). When the opportunity arises he enjoys taking risks in following elephants on foot for long distances to learn more about there daily lives.

 

Nav Dayanand is the Senior Federal Affairs Officer at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Washington Office. Nav works on a wide range of policy and legislative issues pertaining to species protection, global biodiversity and natural resources management and their corresponding funding components. He engages key staff and members of the U.S. Congress, the Executive Branch and other stakeholders on legislation and policy development. Prior to working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Nav was the Director on Government and Public Affairs at the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. In that position, Nav engaged in public health policy and legislation and worked with stakeholders particularly from Native American tribes across the United States.

Nav received his law degree in 2003 from Bangalore University, India and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Rights from the National Law School of India University. He graduated with a Master of Laws degree from Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY in 2004 where he served as the Chair of the Environmental Law Society. While at Bangalore University, Nav represented India at several international moot court competitions and worked with Green Foundation, a grassroots movement based farmer’s rights organization in legislative analysis and drafting of India’s Plant Variety Protection Act. Nav is trained in Indian classical music and performed on the All India Radio through his formative years.

 

Amielle DeWan was born and raised on Long Island in New York State. She received her BS in Biology at the State University of New York at Binghamton with a specialization in ecology and animal behavior. After her undergraduate degree, she worked on a variety of conservation related field work projects studying: human-wildlife interactions at the School for Field Studies, Kenya, habitat requirements for endangered California Gnatcatchers in southern California, and the impacts of bushmeat on hornbill and primate behavior and ecology in Cameroon. For her Master’s research she studied the impact of small mammal seed predation on threatened plants in a globally rare, pitch-pine ecosystem. For her doctoral research she developed a science-based comprehensive vertebrate monitoring strategy that is currently being used as a model for New York’s State Wildlife Grants program.

As the Biodiversity Monitoring Coordinator for the Hudson River Estuary Program, she is currently responsible for organizing, implementing, and analyzing, baseline monitoring data for species of regional significance, and using that information to initiate conservation action. In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing violin, running, and hiking.

 

Pamela Flick is the California Program Coordinator for Defenders of Wildlife, a national wildlife conservation organization dedicated to the protection of species and the habitats on which they depend. Based in Sacramento, she serves as the California Program Director’s liaison to federal and state agencies, elected officials and their staff, the media, Defenders’ staff and members, and the general public. Her core programmatic issues include California condor conservation and recovery with emphasis on impacts from spent lead ammunition; public lands management, especially in the Sierra Nevada; increasing public awareness about California’s marine environment and the federally threatened southern sea otter; reducing human-wildlife conflicts; and working to protect other species native to the Golden State, including Pacific fisher, northern and California spotted owls and San Joaquin kit fox.

Before joining Defenders of Wildlife in April 2005, Pamela worked to preserve California’s public lands and rivers as Communications Coordinator and Administrative Director for the California Wild Heritage Campaign.

Pamela graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biological Sciences. She also earned Associate Degrees in Biological Sciences and Liberal Studies from Sierra College. In her free time, Pamela enjoys live music, gardening, photography, birding, games, and spending time in the great outdoors, opting for the road less traveled with her husband in their 1971 VW Westfalia.

 

Lara Heidel began her work in wildlife conservation as a college undergraduate in 2001 in the Bioandina Argentina Foundation´s Andean condor conservation project. She’s successful completed many projects including: the artificial incubation of eggs, raising chicks in isolation from humans, and field surveys to select release sites and locate condor roosting and breeding sites; participated in the release of captive-bred condors in three Argentine provinces and Chile, and assisted in radio-tracking the released individuals; as well as worked in the education department of the Bioandina Argentina Foundation, giving educational talks in schools in numerous parts of Argentina.

Since 2006, Lara has worked as a consultant for the Wildlife Conservation Society´s Patagonian and Andean Steppe project based in Junín de los Andes, Neuquén. She is assisting in the development and implementation of training courses for park rangers and government technicians to monitor effects of oil and mining projects on wildlife and develop appropriate mitigation actions for the companies. This is the main emerging threat in this region to species such as the guanaco and the Andean cat. Lara is also a founding member of a local conservation NGO, Conservación Patagonia where she teaches workshops on environment and conservation to schoolchildren from the ages of six to twelve.

 

Nathan Herschler is a legal fellow with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Prior to joining IFAW in 2008, he graduated from American University, Washington College of Law in the District of Columbia where he focused on environmental and animal law.

Through his current work as a legal fellow and his past employment as a law clerk with a number of animal protection organizations and law firms, Mr. Herschler has had the opportunity to assist with precedent setting litigation including two cases that reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Most recently, Mr. Herschler has assisted IFAW’s outside counsel with litigation aiming to prevent importation of polar bear “trophies.”

In addition to his duties at IFAW, Mr. Herschler has co-chaired his Student Animal Legal Defense Fund law school chapter, lectured on animal law issues, and volunteered with a number of animal advocacy groups. In his free time, Mr. Herschler enjoys spending time with his Fiancé and two dogs, learning Arabic, and being outdoors.

 

Originally from northern Virginia, Alec Hutchinson studied Political Science and International Relations, with an emphasis on Environmental Studies at Virginia Tech. He studied abroad in Spain and Ecuador, strengthening his passion for environmental conservation during expeditions to the Amazon region and the Galapagos Islands.

Following graduation, Alec began work on Conservation International’s Sea Turtle Flagship Program (CI-STFP), working simultaneously with the IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG). There, he was responsible for gathering and organizing data for the State of the World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT) Report, an internationally recognized publication on global sea turtle populations and conservation status. During his tenure at CI, Alec also worked on the Great Turtle Race, a widely-successful internet-based event to raise awareness about the plight of the Pacific leatherback turtle, amongst other awareness campaigns and training workshops.

After leaving CI, Alec took the position of Director of Nesting Beach Projects for Pretoma, a small, Costa Rican-based marine conservation organization focused on the conservation of sea turtles, sharks and fisheries in the eastern Pacific. There he managed several sea turtle nesting beach conservation projects in small communities along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Currently, he is developing proposals for an at-sea research project to study the population dynamics of hawksbill and green turtles in Pacific Costa Rica.

 

Dennis Jorgensen is the first World Wildlife Fund-US (WWF-US) program officer to be based within the Northern Great Plains Ecoregion. WWF-US has placed the Northern Great Plains on its list of 19 priority places on Earth whose conservation would help save the planet’s broad diversity of ecosystems and its focal 15 network initiatives that constitute the primary focus of all of WWF-US’s current conservation efforts. Dennis is originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada where he completed undergraduate work in Ecology and Anthropology at the University of Calgary. He then worked as a consulting wildlife biologist for government and industry for three years.

Dennis conducted his Masters thesis on the effects of human activities on the migrations of prairie rattlesnakes in southeastern Alberta. To date his rattlesnake research has resulted in the publication of a book chapter and a peer reviewed note with additional manuscripts in preparation. Dennis has also served as a rattlesnake safety consultant for government and industry, preparing a rattlesnake awareness and safety video that is used extensively in Alberta. His work has taken him to the tundra of the Northwest Territories as well as the Boreal forest, and the prairies of Alberta and Montana. In partnership with state and federal agencies, Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy Indian Reservations, local landowners and the American Prairie Foundation, Dennis is currently participating in projects involving a broad array of species including bison, prairie dogs, pronghorn antelope and mountain lions.

 

As an undergraduate, Jessica Kahler pursued dual interests in wildlife conservation and human ecology and culture. I received dual Bachelor’s degrees, in Wildlife Management and Anthropology, from The Ohio State University. During her undergraduate studies Jessica worked with the African great apes and Old World monkeys at the Columbus Zoo, The OSU Chimpanzee Center and the Primate Rescue Center, Inc, which enriched my understanding of conservation and the pressing need for environmental education in the general public.

Jessica served in the U.S. Peace Corps for three years in the Republic of Vanuatu where she spent two years as a Coastal Resources Management Advisor and worked with two villages to facilitate the creation of a community-based marine protected area. Jessica also worked for the Vanuatu Fisheries Department as the National Coordinator for Reef Check Vanuatu (RCV) where she worked with environmental stakeholders throughout the country, advocate the conservation of coral reefs and marine species and collaborate with various environmental NGOs. As the RCV Coordinator, Jessica provided technical trainings, educational activities, conducted coral reef monitoring, created a training curriculum and materials, and ran media based awareness.

Prior to pursuing a graduate degree, she worked in Montana as a Piping Plover Technician through The Nature Conservancy and the USFW. The position entailed conducting an annual census and monitoring the breeding success of the threatened Piping plover on private, state and federally owned alkali basins and report to both USFW and TNC. Currently, as a graduate research assistant at Michigan State University’s Fisheries and Wildlife Department Jessica’s working toward a degree in human dimensions of wildlife management and conducting research which uses risk mapping and perception to investigate the intersection between biodiversity conservation and livelihood preservation in communities adjacent to a protected area in northeastern Madagascar.

 

Matthew Kirby’s experience with wildlife conservation began not with a campaign but with direct hands-on research and advocacy. In the summer of 2005, Matt received a fellowship from Carleton College in Minnesota to travel to Costa Rica and work with Green Sea Turtles to quantify the poaching rate on an unprotected stretch of beach as well as working with the local community to devise ways to decrease poaching.

Soon thereafter, Matthew was selected as an Apprentice with the Sierra Club. It was this intensive, professional development experience that propelled him into the world of organizing and advocacy. Matthew lobbied against offshore drilling, worked to organize coastal businesses, blogged, organized our opposition to Bush’s alteration of the Endangered Species Act, and launched the beginnings of a corporate campaign against Royal Dutch Shell over leases they hold in the Polar Bear Seas.

Matthew is currently the Lands Conservation Organizer with the Sierra Club where he leads the effort on onshore and offshore oil and gas development, acting as the liaison between field organizers and respective public lands legislative campaigns, all the while ensuring that Sierra Club field offices are working in ways that enhance and support conservation priorities in Congress.

 

Eliot Levine is a Program Associate with the World Wildlife Fund’s Conservation Leadership program, Climate Change Program, and Kathryn Fuller Fund. Since starting at WWF in 2005, Eliot has conducted an analysis to assess the scientific needs and capacity across the WWF global network, co-authored, “Your Climate, Your Future” a high school curriculum aimed at mainstreaming climate change in classrooms across America, and coordinated Climate Camp 2008, a week long climate change adaption training program. Eliot also manages the Climate Witness Challenge, a nation-wide series of climate change talks on college campuses.

Prior to moving to DC, Eliot lived in New York where he earned a Masters of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He also holds a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies from Penn State University. Prior to working at WWF he had a short consulting role (as part of his master’s program) with the United Nations analyzing transaction costs of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. He also worked with the Colorado Environmental Coalition on issues of “Smart” growth and campaign finance reform.

 

Kathryn Mannle joined Rare in 2007 with a passion for working with local communities and biodiversity conservation. Prior to Rare she held environmental consulting posts with Environment International, Ltd. and the Cascadia Consulting Group in Seattle, WA and worked as a forestry technician in the Pacific Northwest. As an undergraduate, Kate spent a semester in Madagascar and worked with a local ecotourism guides association and WCS for an independent study. It was then that she first realized she could make a career out of helping to protect the world’s most amazing species and places. Following her work in Seattle, Kate returned to Madagascar to examine the role of specific-species taboos in biodiversity conservation in the Bay of Antsiranana for her master’s thesis. Kate holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Bates College and a MSc. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from Oxford University.

In her current position as the Global Partnerships Associate at Rare, Kate plays a central role in the recruiting and admissions process for Rare’s four regional training programs. Supporting the Director of Partnerships and four regional Partnership Managers around the world, Kate does everything from fix web-to-lead code on Rare’s website (something she never thought she’d be able to do) to help develop thematic cohorts around specific conservation threats and solutions. She also enjoys working with partners to find the best Rare Pride campaign sites, representing Rare at conferences and helping to plan social marketing workshops. Kate takes pride in being one of the Arlington office’s unofficial biodiversity experts and worm-bin wrangler.

 

As Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Representative for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (WDP&R), Claire Michael manages the administration of the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, the multi-million dollar conservation granting arm of The Walt Disney Company. Claire started working for Disney in 2005 at The Seas at Epcot as a Conservation Educator and Coordinator, developing and facilitating school group programs aimed at ocean conservation, sustainable practices and career development. She continued to expand her role, working as an instructor for both the scuba and dolphin guest programs and participating on the Marine Review Committee for the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

In 2006, Claire transferred to a position working for Conservation Initiatives for Walt Disney World Public Affairs, which has grown into the position she now holds with WDP&R. In Claire’s current role her responsibilities include the administration, communications, fundraising, marketing and development related to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF).

Prior to joining Disney, Claire worked with Global Vision International to establish a Social Ecology Program for the smallest of South Africa’s National Parks, Bontebok National Park. As a People and Conservation Officer for the park, Claire’s responsibilities included conservation education program development and implementation, park communications and marketing, community forum organization and the development of a business plan for the Social Ecology Department. She also spent a month while in South Africa studying ecology, tracking, survival and advanced rifle handling to achieve the THETA Field Ranger I certification.

Claire is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy with a specialization in Wildlife Resources and Conservation.

 

Joe Milmoe is a young biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and graduate student at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Born and raised in the Washington, DC area, Joe has a diverse background and unique perspective in the field of conservation. Joe is very fortunate and thankful to be able to pursue his two passions of conservation and photography in his work. Through the use of compelling imagery, he strives to translate science into action to address today’s conservation challenges of global climate change and the biodiversity crisis.

Joe has completed internships and scholarships with a number of organizations, including: the Smithsonian, Natures Best Photography Magazine, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North American Nature Photography Association, Human Wildlife Conflict Collaboration, and others. Joe has field experience relating to herpetology, coral reef ecology, shade coffee habitat restoration, ecotourism and endangered species captive breeding programs. In 2004, Joe founded the GMU Environmental Awareness Group, a student organization with a mission to educate others about sustainability, campus ecology and other conservation issues. Joe has worked as both a staff and freelance photographer since 2005, where his images have been featured in a number of publications and galleries. As an active volunteer, Joe continues to serve over 300 hours every year and also donates his wildlife imagery to conservation NGO’s to promote conservation education. Joe is most recently involved with two conservation campaigns highlighting domestic amphibian conservation and illegal shark finning.

Joe now works as a biologist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters. Joe works in the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, an innovative cooperative conservation program which works with a wide variety of partners to conserve habitat on privately owned land.

 

After graduating from Towson University with a Bachelor’s degree in animal behavior, Serda Ozbenian interned at the environmental law firm Earthjustice where she received an introduction into the field of policy. This stint with policy led her to AWI where she now educates the public and policy makers on the need to protect wildlife. Serda launched and is now the lead of a campaign to thwart the sale of shark fin soup in U.S. restaurants. Some of the other issues she works on include whaling, dolphin hunting and capture, and humane education. She has helped organize many demonstrations and educational activities including the annual rally against the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, a lecture at Georgetown University with actress Hayden Panettiere to speak about dolphin and whale conservation, and a demonstration in front of the National Marine Fisheries Service headquarters to protest their authorization of the use of Naval sonar that is harmful to marine animals. These events have been successful in attracting media attention and engaging many people in the conservation and protection of marine mammals. She is currently preparing Endangered Species listing petitions for a number of fish species.

Aside from her work with AWI she also volunteers her time to the Armenian Environmental Network (AEN), of which she is the executive director. AEN is a new environmentally focused network of development professionals and students in Armenia and the US, aimed at promoting awareness of environmental and energy concerns for Armenia’s development. The network has so far held three successful panel discussions in Washington D.C.

 

Alexandra Rothlisberger’s passion for nature conservation and animal welfare began at an early age, when she accompanied her father on expeditions to the llanos region of Colombia. Together they introduced the importance of protecting the region’s endangered fauna and flora to individuals, communities and private land owners.

After graduating from high school Alexandra moved to the US to pursue a degree in International Studies from California State University Hayward. Her passion for the understanding of different cultures and languages led her to travel the world and experience life in various countries. Upon her return to the United States, she joined Fauna and Flora International’s DC office as Program Officer for Africa and Latin America.

In 2010 Alexandra joined Humane Society International (HSI) as Program Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, companion animals and engagement. Alexandra works on behalf of HSI to build and strengthen the capacity of local animal welfare organizations working to improve the life conditions of owned, abandoned and stray companion animals. Alexandra was born and raised in Colombia and is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian.

 

Melanie Sorensen is an Interpretive Naturalist at the Minnesota Zoo where she has worked since 1998. During her first three years at the Zoo she cared for a collection of 120 trained animals used for outreach and onsite educational programs. Currently, she develops and teaches the Zoo’s educational programs, which are offered to participants ranging from toddlers to adults, on various animal and conservation related topics. Moreover, Melanie also guides educational zoo trips for high school students to Costa Rica and the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. She has had training in national environmental education curriculum such as Project Learning Tree and Project Wild.

During 2006 Melanie took a one year sabbatical from the Zoo and volunteered for a series of animal conservation and environmental education programs located in Mongolia, Kenya, Fiji and Costa Rica. In Mongolia Melanie worked for the Pallas Cat Conservation Project as a field research assistant and English teacher for two months in the village were the research was being conducted. She then spent three months working for Arocha Kenya, a Christian environmental organization, ringing birds, teaching in the local schools and leading teacher training workshops focused on incorporating conservation themes in the core curriculum. In Fiji, Melanie volunteered for Reef Explorers planting coral in a marine protected area and developing a village’s eco-tourism potential. Finally, Melanie lived in Costa Rica for four months, as a Resident Naturalist for the San Luis Ecolodge and Research Station. This experience led to an exciting opportunity at the Minnesota Zoo. In December 2008 Melanie hosted the first ever sloth symposium. She invited two sloth experts from Costa Rica along with 20 other zoo professional from North American zoos. As a result of the workshop, a sloth husbandry manual was published.

In addition to working at the Minnesota Zoo, Melanie recently began working as a trip leader for an international adventure travel company that incorporates community volunteering with outdoor recreation called “Play It Forward Adventures”. Melanie is a member of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Minnesota Naturalist Association (MNA) and Minnesota Association of Environmental Educators (MAEE). Melanie received her bachelor’s in Environmental Science from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas and recently completed a Masters degree in Environmental Education and Natural Sciences at Hamline University in St. Paul Minnesota.

 

Kate Swails attended Penn State University as an undergraduate where she majored in Environmental Resource Management and Marine Science. Kate went on to get a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University with an emphasis in Coastal Environmental Management. While at Duke, she had the opportunity to live in Cape Cod for the summer and worked for the Cape Cod Marine Mammal Stranding Network as a stranding response volunteer. Currently, she works in NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Protected Resources as a fisheries biologist. Kate’s job in the Permits, Conservation, and Education Division is to review and process permit applications for scientific research on species protected under the Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection Acts. She doesn’t spend all her time in an office though; for the past two summers Kate was lucky enough to participate in scientific research cruises with NMFS science centers. She got to spend 3 weeks in the Gulf of Maine surveying for right whales and 2 weeks off the coast of California looking for leatherback sea turtles.

 

Natália Mundim Tôrres focuses on academic formation in Biology (at Federal University of Goiás – Brazil) of theoretical ecology, working with carnivore macroecology and large-scale ecological patterns and processes. She became a member of the Jaguar Conservation Fund (JCF) – a Brazilian NGO dedicated to research and conservation of the jaguar, its natural prey species and habitats throughout the species’ distribution. Natália started working with JCF as an intern in July 2002, and was responsible for organizing and analyzing camera trap pictures from all the research sites of this institution. In 2004, she worked at the Project “Cerrado-Pantanal Corridor”, raising information about mammal occurrence along a potential connection between these two biomes through interviews with locals.

Subsequently in 2004, she started her Master’s at Brasilia University, where she worked with potential distribution modeling for all 20 Carnivore occurring in the Cerrado to evaluate its protected areas system for carnivore conservation, using Gap Analysis. In 2006, she became the JCF communication manager, coordinating the institution’s monthly newsletter, home page and JCF brochure conception. Additionally, Natália is an active part of institutional decision making. Scientifically, her activities within the institution include data analysis, organization and updating of the jaguar occurrence databank, elaborating maps and processing GIS information. She is involved in all JCF projects, which are spread throughout Brazil. Natália was a vital part of organizing the 1° Workshop about Distribution, Management and Conservation of the Jaguar in Brazil. In 2007, Natália started my PhD. at the Federal University of Goiás. Her research concerns jaguar distribution, working with species distribution modeling, considering climatic variables and vegetation data using climatic change and land use models to predict jaguar distribution in the future. Natália has been invited to give lectures and short courses at the university (or at meetings) about mammal survey methods and conservation.

 

David Tucker graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in Environmental Science – Politics and Policy. After graduating, David participated in an 11 month internship with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in their Office of Congressional and International Affairs in Washington, D.C. While with NWF, David worked on issues involving the Federal Farm Bill and on wetlands. He assisted in NWF’s amicus brief for the Rapanos-Carabell Supreme Court case, developed fact sheets on the Farm Bill, and lobbied on behalf of NWF on both issues. After completing his internship with NWF, David accepted a position as the Coordinator for Science and International Conservation at Defenders of Wildlife. After a short time with Defenders, David was promoted to Coordinator for Conservation Programs, a position he’s held for the last two years. In his current role with Defenders, David Co-chair Defenders’ Green Committee, represents Defenders on a number of coalitions, manages a variety of budgets and grants, and assists the Sr. Vice President for Conservation Programs as needed.

David is working to try to get legislation introduced that would establish a “Chesapeake Bay Week” in the state, aimed at raising awareness about issues facing the bay and ways we can work to resolve them. David is also an avid musician and trombonist, having been playing classical and jazz trombone for the past 15 years.

 

A Bachelors of Science in Ecology from the University of Georgia is the foundation for Michelle Williams’ passion for environmental and conservation documentary filmmaking. Michelle has been pursuing this passion since she created her first documentary in 2003 about the ecotourism industry in Costa Rica during a Tropical Ecology study abroad program at UGA.

Upon graduating from UGA, Michelle was selected as a summer intern at Discovery Communications where she worked in the Discovery Production Group. At the conclusion of the internship she accepted a full-time position with Discovery and served as a Production Coordinator and eventually an Assistant Network Manager for the Science Channel.

In 2005 Michelle was accepted as a Masters of Fine Arts candidate in the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at the School of Communication at American University. During her time at AU, Michelle established the student group Filmmakers for Social and Environmental Action in partnership with the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Her two-part thesis documentary film focused on conservation issues in the metropolitan Washington, DC area.

Michelle left Discovery in 2006 for a position at VideoTakes, Inc., an award-winning media production company based in Arlington, VA. As an Associate Producer and eventually a Producer, Michelle wrote, directed and produced videos for a wide range of clients including award-winning pieces for the American Prairie Foundation and the Fund for Sustainable Tomorrows.

Michelle completed her M.F.A. in Film & Electronic Media with a concentration in Environmental Filmmaking from American University in August 2008. In January 2009 Michelle accepted a position as an Earth Science Producer for NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. She looks forward to combining her background in ecology with the skills she has gained in the filmmaking industry to continue creating meaningful, effective and entertaining science-based media for video and web.