A native of Vermont, Mindy has always felt closely tied to nature. As a teenager, she began to travel to developing countries and recognized the intimate relationships between humans and their environment. She has developed a broad skill set in social and ecological sciences that allow her to participate in interdisciplinary work addressing human-environment interactions. She obtained a bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish from the University of Vermont and spent several years working in international development and as a protected areas manager before pursuing her master's degree at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. She then spent seven years working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, DC before escaping to Colorado to study for her PhD. She likes to play outside either running trails, riding her bike, or skiing. She loves to travel and participate in activities to give back to her community.