I am extremely educationally privileged, and I am grateful to all the institutions that have provided me with this privilege. Below is an overview of where I was educated.
As a child and young adult I was educated in the Huntington Union Free School District on Long Island. As such I feel like the proud product of high-quality public education, because I received an amazing foundation in the Huntington schools. At Finley Junior High I was in a program called “Environmental Explorations” that emphasized science education through a series of great class field trips and projects. At Huntington High School I took advanced placement courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and also benefitted from a really amazing English Language Arts program that greatly shaped my skills as a reader and writer.
As an undergraduate at Pomona College, I received a classic liberal arts education. While I did major in biology, what I was exposed to intellectually was far more broad. You can still find the stamp of this broad and synthetic way of thinking on my current-day scholarship. Interestingly, the closest I came at Pomona to the fields of ecology and evolution was a course in Animal Behavior: at the time I was more interested in organismal biology.
Stony Brook University:
Having come to Stony Brook to get a master’s degree, I found myself so invigorated by the department’s faculty and students that I decided to stick around to get the doctoral degree. One of the first departments of its kind when it was founded back in 1969, Stony Brook’s Department of Ecology and Evolution provided an amazing atmosphere in which to develop as a scientist. It was not really about the classes (although I took some good ones): what made Stony Brook exceptional was the intellectual environment created by its faculty, graduate students, and many distinguished visitors. At the time I do not think that I appreciated the richness of what I was exposed to scientifically, but I certainly owe to Stony Brook the depth of my understanding of ecology and evolution.
I also have more detailed information about classes I have taken and work that I completed as part of my education on my Education Archives page.