I have recently come on board the TNACI staff as the Conservation Associate and I am excited about all of the opportunities that this position comes with! Lee Friedlander formerly held this position and has moved on to teach at a local highschool. I am a native of middle Tennessee (Livingston) and graduated from Tennessee Tech in Cookeville with a bachelors in biology. For the past seven years I have been an Aquarist at the Tennessee Aquarium where my expertise has developed in Syngnathids (seahorses and their relatives), freshwater stingrays and also in native southeastern freshwater fishes, the latter being a reason this position was so attractive to me. I am also working on finishing my Masters degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where I am researching the population genetics of Hemitremia flammea (Flame Chubs) which are native to Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. With this genetics experience I am excited to partner with Dr. Anna George on various conservation genetics projects and seek out new projects that will benefit southeastern fish populations as well as captive populations of rare fishes in zoos and aquariums. We live in such an amazing place, surrounded by beautiful scenery, flowing waters and immense aquatic biodiversity. I can't think of a better place to study freshwater fishes and, more than that, to be active in conservation efforts to protect those species and their habitats! Watch out for future postings about new adventures at TNACI as I get settled into this position and seek out conservation research opportunities.