About Me

My name is Jen and as of fall 2019 I have joined the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology (UMMP) as a Research Museum Collection Manager for the invertebrate paleontology collections. All of the natural history collections are housed in a facility just south of main U-M campus. My time is split between collection management, outreach, and research.

After spending 22 years in the Chicagoland area I moved to Athens, Ohio to get my Master’s degree alongside Alycia Stigall. I spent two years living in the cozy town of Athens before moving on to Knoxville where I lived from 2014-2018 while completing my PhD alongside Colin Sumrall. I completed a postdoctoral position at the Florida Museum of Natural History after graduating from UTK in 2018. I spent a year at the Florida Museum (house at the University of Florida) where  my role was geared toward curating a digital fossil collection on myFOSSIL and helping get a new institute off the ground – the Thompson Earth Systems Institute. In addition to getting excited about spineless life on Earth and science I like to be outdoors! I spend a lot of time biking (cruising and mountain biking), hiking, swimming, and running.

Climbing to the top of Chimney Tops in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

My current research focuses on eublastoids but I’m broadly interested in Paleozoic invertebrates. Eublastoids have been studied in great detail over the past two hundred years but there are still several careers worth of questions to be addressed. They lived for an incredibly long time and exhibited a broad range of anatomical forms! I use data that was previously collected by other researchers and examine it with new technology and I also collect my own data through museum visits, field excursions, and imaging facilities. If you are interested in my research please look at the research page.

I spend a considerable amount of time participating in outreach events and working on a side project called Time Scavengers. Visit my outreach page, here, to learn more about my specific efforts in engaging the public. My friend and colleague had an idea to create this site in January of 2016 as a way to explore climate change and evolution through the lens of paleontology. Fossils are an excellent way to explore change through time, migration, morphology, ontogeny, ocean patterns, climate shifts, environmental shifts, and so much more!

Mountain biking at Fire Mountain in Cherokee, North Carolina.