Ellen enjoyed her first research experience at Florida State University as an undergraduate in Biology working with Dr. David Balkwill. As a researcher of the Deep Subsurface Microbiology Project organied by principal investigator, Dr. Tullis Onstott, at Princeton University, Ellen explored the deep subsurface microbiology that thrives kilometers below South Africa’s exterior. Following phylogenetic characterization of these novel bacterium, Ellen published, “In situ enrichment of a diverse community of bacteria from a 4-5 km deep fault zone in South Africa.” Post graduation from Florida State University in Biology (2004), Ellen received an Emerging Infectious Disease Fellowship from the Center for Disease Control (2004-2005) and completed a real-time PCR assay for the detection of the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever pathogen, Rickettsia rickettsii. This research lead Ellen to pursue her academic career again- this time at Columbia University’s Master of Arts program in Conservation Biology (2005-2007) under the direction of Dr. Shahid Naeem (Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology). Her interests which brought her to the museum include a combining or mix of botany, biodiversity, ecology and molecular biology.