Educator, researcher, science communicator, author

About me


I am originally from The Plains, Ohio, USA, a "census-designated place" (actual classification--look it up!) just outside the university town of Athens. Because I love my hometown, and Greek mythology, and birds, I have a tattoo of a little owl (Athene noctua) just behind my right ear, perfectly positioned to deliver a continuous stream of advice and witticisms. I also sport a feather on my left wrist as a tribute to writing, birds, writing about birds, and perhaps even to birds who write (should there in fact be any), and I have a dove on my right hip in honour of peace, hope, and, you guessed it, birds. 

Although I originally intended to be a behavioural ecologist specialising in, amazingly enough, birds, I decided to abandon this career path after realising I probably wasn't ever going to save the world single-handedly or win a Nobel Prize. Sadly, I did not have this epiphany until after I'd already devoted countless hours to reading obscure scientific papers, injuring myself doing fieldwork, and collecting a trio of degrees. Fortunately, however, I have found in the University of Exeter a supportive and flexible employer willing to take my word for it when I say that I can do something useful with my strange blend of scientific, technological, artistic, communications, administrative, and managerial expertise. I'm sure they will be pleased when I one day figure out what I want to be when I grow up, and therefore stop applying for new jobs in different departments.

While I never expected to live out my days in my hometown, I also never anticipated that I would end up an expat living on a different continent--though after the election of 2016, I am inclined to claim in public that my decision to move abroad resulted from killer instincts and a strong sense of self-preservation. Before you ask, yes I do like it here and no it wasn't hard to adjust. I knew you were wondering because everyone does, and questions like those are one of the reasons I started my blog The Pocahontas Files. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I also have a second (sadly neglected) science outreach blog called Anthrophysis that I will--I swear--get back to one day, just as soon as I have a bit of spare time in between doing obsessive daily challenges (check the Twitter hashtag #historyofharold for my latest), compulsively reading fantasy/sci-fi/history books, drinking unhealthy amounts of tea, caring for my Grade II listed home, cuddling with my cat King Harold III, undertaking another doctorate (in education), and, of course, looking at birds.