I was first exposed to the world of scientific research during high school in a course called Science Research Seminar. When I realized that I could combine creativity and innovation with the findings of other scientists to benefit human impacted ecosystems, I was hooked! Today, my goal is to educate myself in the principles of ecology and perform significant research that provides evidence and solutions for pressing environmental issues. My current research looks at how prairie dogs engineer complex burrow systems in space and through time. Learning how prairie dog colonies grow while maximizing spatial efficiency will help land managers mitigate conflict between prairie dogs and human communities. Furthermore, it may advise people on how to better structure and grow our own engineered communities. This project allows me to combine my interest in keystone species, population dynamics, and conservation with math, computer modeling, and data analysis. In the face of climate change, I will not settle on waiting until after graduation to play my part in saving our environment. I hope this research will kickstart my career and lead me to work with Boulder County Open Space in beautiful BOCO. Now please tell your worried parents, prairie dogs don’t carry the bubonic plague, fleas do.