I was born in New City, NY, a suburb located approximately 35 minutes northwest of New York City. I attended the State University of New York at Geneseo, and received a B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry. After Geneseo, I received a Master’s in Marine and Atmospheric Science ( I know nothing about the atmosphere) from Stony Brook University’s Marine Science Research Center (since re-named SoMAS). I studied marine viral ecology under Dr. Gordon Taylor. I conducted my PhD at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Marine Sciences under Dr. Hans Dam at the Avery Point campus. In 2014 I became faculty in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, also at Avery Point. I am the only full-time faculty of any biology department at Avery Point. Department meetings are awesome! My favorite hobbies are cooking and gardening. While I am a New York (Italian) native, I have fallen in love with New England. I live in Stonington, CT on a small farm with my wife, two kids, two dogs, two donkeys, two goats, too many chickens, and pond filled with frogs, salamanders, leeches, and some invasive goldfish.
I have always loved the ocean. I spent countless hours snorkeling and exploring different beaches with my mother and grandfather. But, it wasn’t until I spent a summer on a remote Maine (Shoals Marine Lab) island studying the field biology of the rocky intertidal zone that I realized I wanted to dedicate my career to the ocean. It was influential mentors at Geneseo, Dr.s Sid Bosch and Gregg Hartvigsen, that highlighted the power of teaching and mentoring. They showed me that I wanted nothing more than to teach science at the college level. At UConn, Dr. Hans Dam continues to help me hone my critical thinking, research, and mentoring skills.