Karla was born and raised in the foothills of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. It was there that she developed a curiosity and love for our natural world. She particularly loves biology, which she chose to pursue as her undergraduate major at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Throughout her undergraduate studies, Karla pursued her interests in biological research, veterinary sciences, and medicine. This prepared her to join the inaugural class for Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s combined DVM/PhD program. During her combined degree training, Karla pursued a mixed small and large animal pathway during her clinical rotations, completed a dissertation on the evolution of canine parvovirus, and developed her pedagogical skills as a future faculty fellow. After earning her veterinary degree, Karla worked part time for Shelter Outreach Services in Ithaca, New York, providing spay/neuter surgeries and infection control support for regional animal shelters. After earning her PhD, Karla completed her postdoctoral studies at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, where she continued studying viral evolution and host switching, as well as genomics, bioinformatics, and microbiome sciences.
Driven in part by the need to get students interested earlier in biomedical and health sciences earlier and her love for teaching, Karla chose to move from higher education to secondary school education. She was a science teacher and dorm parent at George School, a Quaker boarding and day high school in Pennsylvania, for five years before joining the Waterford School faculty for the 2020-2021 school year.
In addition to teaching, Karla enjoys spending time with her dogs, Fig and Fern, Nordic skiing, hiking, reading, and solving puzzles. She is also thankful for the opportunity to work once again as a part time small animal veterinarian.