Rhea grew up in Topeka, Kansas and received her BS in evolutionary biology just next door at the University of Kansas. While in undergrad she studied a variety of topics from drosophila mating cycles to flower petal evolution all the way to jellyfish phylogenetics. Currently she is a genetics PhD student in Dr. David Kingsley's lab where she is looking to elucidate enhancers in the brain that regulate gene expression. These enhancers are fast evolving in that they are human specific–and are unshared with chimps. This approach will help reveal what drives human specificity, while also exploring human-specific genetic diseases.