I am a research social scientist in the Rangeland Resources and Systems Research Unit at USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
I study the impacts of climate change on grasslands in the U.S. Northern Great Plains, and conduct collaborative, actionable research that helps decision makers and strengthens the ability of farmers and ranchers to adapt to climate change.
I grew up in rural eastern Germany, and before moving to the U.S. in 2012 for my doctoral research, I graduated with a master of science equivalent in geography (Diplom-Geograf), minoring in meteorology and cartography, from Dresden University of Technology.
Growing up on a family farm gave me an early start into agriculture and an appreciation for nature and rural life. I traveled throughout Europe, North America, Australia, Africa, and Asia, and experienced how vulnerable agriculture is to drought and heat while working on cattle and sheep ranches in Outback Australia.
I previously conducted research at Texas A&M University, studying the impacts of climate change and increasing drought and heat on cattle production in the U.S. Great Plains, which supports rural livelihoods and can help sustain important ecosystem services of natural grasslands.
My dissertation combined my interests in applied research and science communication, as did the Early Career Climate Forum, an online platform I co-founded in 2012, that provides career resources and connects graduate students and young professionals in climate-related research. I am an editorial board member and contributed blog posts, for example interviews with Katharine Hayhoe and Bill Hooke and articles about communicating science to middle-schoolers, drought decision making on ranches, and designing online surveys and conference posters. I currently host the ECCF podcast and manage ECCF's social media presence on Twitter and Facebook.
During graduate school in Germany I discovered photography and journalism as a way to tell stories. As freelance writer and photographer, I pitched and reported stories on science, sports, and human interest, which were published regionally and nationally. As sports editor of a student publication, I was in charge of staff management, page planning, copy editing, and reviewing. I exhibited my travel photography from southern Africa and Nepal in shows in Dresden and Berlin, and contributed to exhibitions in Switzerland and the U.S.