Lara has a BA in Communications and an MS in Biology from Appalachian State University and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee. After postdoctoral positions at the Univ. of Tenn. and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory she has been a faculty member at the Univ. of OK since 2012 where she is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Oklahoma Biological Survey. She is a plant ecologist that focuses on global change impacts on plant community dynamics and the functioning of ecosystems. Lara has served as Associate Editor for Plant Ecology, the Journal for Applied Ecology, Ecology and Ecological Monographs. She has been an active scientist at RMBL since 2012, serving on several committees, including Diversity and Douglass Distinguished Lecturer committees. She brings to the Board her perspective as a scientist who lives in Gothic during the summer, as well as her experiences with leadership and administration in the sciences and overall broadening participation in STEM.