What is your
degree in and, at the time, how did you decide upon it?

degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts, magna cum laude, from Tyler School of Art,
Temple University. But that was not my original intent. I’ve always had a keen
interest in both science and art. My father was an engineering professor and
hoped that I would follow in his footsteps. So I tried. I was miserable, barely
making it through one semester at Penn State University before changing my
major to art. I’ll never forget making the decision to change my major. It was
the first time in my life when I realized that I was in control of my own
destiny. After a year at PSU, I took a year off to save money and then
transferred to Tyler. I was on my own and I’m proud to say that I supported
myself, worked my way through, and came out with no student loans (a feat that
would be impossible today).

What was
your first job? What has been your favorite occupation thus far?

here’s the reality check. I was a waitress. Waiting on tables got me through
high school, college, and raising my boys (Brad and Alec) when they were
little. It enabled me to make the most money working the fewest hours. I had
the starving artist thing down until I started working for Cape May Bird
Observatory. I’ve had lots of freelance artwork and field jobs along the way,
but it was CMBO that gave me my first (and only) 9 – 5 job.

favorite occupation is the one that I have right now. I work for myself,
Swallowtail Studio. I love leading for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, teaching
workshops for CMBO, coordinating the Monarch Monitoring Project, and doing my

 What other hobbies do you
have outside of birding?

good to have hobbies. Birding is great, but it is not all encompassing for me.
Actually, I love butterflies and botany too. I enjoy spending time with my
family (traveling, fossil hunting, going to museums and zoos, or just watching
movies) when possible. I like to work out at the gym and ride my bike. Lately,
Michael and I have been having a lot of fun going bowling and playing poker
with the local birders here in Cape May. It is a great community to live in.

What is your favorite art medium to work with and why?
always preferred water-based mediums, watercolor and gouache. I’ve never done
oil or acrylic.