I originally hail from a Chicago suburb. As a child, I frequently spent my summers helping my sisters at Brookfield Zoo, where they were elephant keepers. It was there that I cemented my deep love of animals and the environment. I decided to pursue a degree in life sciences at Northland College and trained and showed dogs when I wasn't at school. After graduating, I became a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland, Africa, and I lived and taught there for 2 1/2 years. These days, I spend my spare time gardening, drawing, cooking, doing photography, working with dogs and horses, and spending time with my 3 amazing children on our hobby farm.