Hailing from the foothills of North Carolina, Sam is in his second year as a graduate student at NC State. Sam graduated from Appalachian State University in 2008, with a degree in Environmental Biology/Ecology and a minor in sustainable development. Upon completion of his degree, Sam spent a month travelling the Western United States. In May of 2009, he moved to Jarbidge, Nevada where he worked as a range technician for the USDA Forest Service. He was responsible for monitoring the impacts of cattle grazing as well as mapping invasive and noxious weeds in a post-burn area over 10,000 acres. During this time, he had the opportunity to travel some more, exploring much of the Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho and the Redwood Forests of Northern California.
Sam is working on his Master’s thesis under the direction of Dr. David Orr. His project focuses on how lawn plant diversity impacts arthropod diversity and was in response to the growing interest from Master Gardeners and homeowners about common beneficial and pest insects. This study is aimed at understanding how the ecological stability of arthropod communities is affected in urban areas, specifically within lawns. As urbanization continues to increase and wildlife conservation becomes more important, it is necessary to understand how arthropods are impacted, since they serve as an important food resource for variety of wildlife, including songbirds and small mammals. In the spring semester of 2012, Sam was nominated for the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award as well as being selected for the Graduate Student Poster Presentation Symposium, where he presented preliminary results for his research project. When he isn’t studying insects, Sam enjoys travelling, reading, mountain biking, playing handball, and most recently, making tasty homebrewed