I have long had a fascination with the interconnected pieces that make up nature, starting from when my age was in the single digits and continuing to this day. In large part this led me to an undergraduate degree in Biology, during which I studied watershed and disturbance ecology, and got my first introduction to the power of GIS. Some years after completing my bachelor’s degree I was presented with the opportunity to work as a field technician collecting data on a tree disease (sudden oak death) that was ravaging forests where I lived in California. Hiking around beautiful landscapes looking at trees all day sounded like a good deal to me! Little did I know at the time that this would directly lead me to the opportunity to study of this disease full-time as a graduate student. I went from Research Technician in California to PhD student in North Carolina in 18 months. Four years later, I know more about the connections between this disease and the environment than I ever thought I would.
Area of research
I studied the landscape epidemiology of the pathogen that causes sudden oak death to understand the relationships between the hosts, pathogen, and environment across multiple scales.
I am aiming to attain a position, whether academic, public, or private, where I continue to conduct applied and theoretical research in disease ecology, as well as provide education and outreach opportunities to broad audiences.
Previous degrees and where earned:
Bachelors of Science in Biology, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
I enjoy hiking and backpacking, cooking, brewing beer, traveling, and taking pictures.
Whalen completed his PhD in May 2017 and is currently a post-doc at the University of Florida.