About

Author

What I love about creative pursuits is that you can fit them into your life on your own terms, and explore a variety of applications. I write sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My stories appear in Leading Edge Magazine along with various anthologies. I also enjoy the process of independently publishing my stories from time to time. I volunteered as an assistant/acquisitions editor at BYU’s Leading Edge Magazine from 2011-2014 (you can find me in the credits for Issues 64 & 65). I have been on panels at writing and pop culture conventions from 2014 through early 2021, including Life, the Universe, and Everything (LTUE); CONduit; the World Horror Convention; Westercon; Salt City Steamfest; and Salt Lake FanX. I’ve also taught subject and writing courses at FyreCon. I’m definitely one of the more awkward presenters you’ll meet, but my hope is that, in bumping elbows with me, you’ll take away a few creative insights (or that you’ll be very entertained for my trying).

Musician

I have a music minor and played the cello in BYU’s Symphony Orchestra for three years as an undergraduate. I also took part in a NASA BEST Student Multimedia Internship through UMBC where I collaborated long-distance with a student team as part of a STEM project way back in 2008. That was, of course, around the time dinosaurs went extinct. My job was to create background music for short informational clips about NASA’s then-plans to return to the moon, which I accomplished with GarageBand and a now-defunct program called Finale PrintMusic. I’m not sure what happened to those clips I created for the project, unfortunately…but I was paid to make cool, organized noise on my computer. I am sharing a few of my project clips here with you as a portfolio. You can also check out details of my current music channel on the Cellectric tab.

Lunar Pondering (Living on the Moon Project, 2008)
Lunar Nostalgia Variation 2 (Living on the Moon Project, 2008)

And just for fun, here is an experimental clip I created inspired by my first completed novel, which had post-apocalyptic themes and shall remain unpublished:

“Global Famine” (music inspired by a novel I was writing in 2011)

PhD Journey

Digging at Barnham, 2019

My father introduced me to dinosaurs at age four with a toy stegosaurus and a little picture book he brought back from a business trip. I made up my mind at age eleven, when I discovered that a PhD was one pathway for the highest science degree I could obtain, that I was going to get one of those PhDs someday and become a paleontologist. While my focus has since shifted from dinosaurs to human origins research, I basically never grew out of my love for ancient life and the earth’s natural history.

During my undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University, I worked as a lab technician at the school’s Museum of Paleontology and took part in two mentored research projects. One project involved the taphonomy of a Utah bone bed, where I studied insect traces on sauropod epiphyses. For the other, I studied the evolution of flight structures in fossil odonates (dragonflies). I also took extra biology courses outside of my major to prepare for future paleontology studies, then fell in love with human origins and the natural history of the human body while taking evolutionary biology and human anatomy courses my senior year.

In the summer of 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in paleo-archeological field studies at Koobi Fora Field School in Kenya through George Washington University and the National Museums of Kenya. I took part in a mentored research project conducting landscape surveys of Pleistocene deposits in Ileret. Our objective was to determine the degree to which surface water flow may have altered the distribution of in-situ (originally discarded) lithic assemblages, which then impacts our ability to make interpretations about hominin behavior. I lived in a tent for almost six weeks (one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!), ate tons of plain spaghetti (which, weirdly, I’m a fan of), and saw amazing wildlife. One of the coolest things I did was learn how to use a drone (or “unmanned aerial vehicle”) to generate 3D models of the surface landscape.

After applying to eighteen different graduate programs (six rounds of applications) in an eight-year stretch, I was very excited to enter the MSc studies in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology at the University College of London in 2018. I graduated with distinction in 2019. While in London, I also volunteered at Frank’s House with the British Museum and obtained a student scholarship place on the Paleolithic Excavation at Barnham in 2019.

I am incredibly excited to be engaged as a PhD student in Archaeology at Durham University. Like it says in my short bio on the front page, I am exploring what insect traces on fossil bone can reveal about Neanderthal mortuary behavior.

Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The Rome, Italy temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We study the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the words of modern day prophets and apostles in accompaniment to the teachings of the Bible. We believe that a man named Joseph Smith was inspired to translate the Book of Mormon, and that he was given keys to restore priesthood authority that was taken from the earth in antiquity. We believe in doing ordinance work such as baptism and marriage sealings for deceased relatives and ancestors, and that families can be together forever. We believe lots of other things as well, which you are welcome to explore on churchofjesuschrist.org.

I love talking about my faith, visiting LDS temples, doing family history research, and serving in volunteer assignments in my local congregation (including my current UK ward). On certain posts I describe things from a Latter-Day Saint perspective on my blog. I further enjoy exploring how science and faith complement one another.

*Favorite Quotes (currently, these are placeholders)

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Walt Disney

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

J. K. Rowling

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Dr. Seuss