I spent my early years playing in the dirt on a peri-urban ranch in Livermore, California, raising chickens commercially as a very young child, and sheep for 4-H and FFA throughout my youth. Living in the Bay Area, a highly urbanized and fairly forward-thinking place, helped inform my early views on sustainability in agriculture. I later pursued degrees focusing on resource conservation in agricultural systems globally. Nonetheless, I diversified my career, and between and for my various degrees, I’ve worked in nuclear remediation in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, studied insect biodiversity in Nicaraguan cattle pastures, developed a community garden education program in Washington State, and worked as a Soil Conservationist for the USDA.
Most recently, I worked as the Postharvest Coordinator for Latin America at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in central Mexico. In addition to managing research throughout Mexico and in parts of Guatemala in this position, I honed my skills designing collaborative methodologies for studying agroecosystems. Now I work as a program manager, mostly writing grants and building international partnerships for an entomology research program.
I’m particularly interested in sustainable intensification in agriculture in order to maintain wild lands, which I like to explore in my free-time with my Nicaraguan mutt. I’m also a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan, love a good adventure story, and spend a great deal of time cooking and otherwise enjoying agricultural products.
Photos: ©Ariel Rivers, 2013. Spodoptera frugiperda in corn; corn in Mixquiahuala, Mexico; Calosoma sp. captured in wheat.