A native of the culturally rich and biodiverse state of Louisiana, I have long cultivated interests in ecology and conservation. I am educated in the Jesuit tradition, which encourages scholars to defend the vulnerable and recognize value in all beings. I manifested this mission in studying the conservation and community ecology of spiders. Spiders are publicly reviled and highly understudied, despite the many beneficent functions they perform in nearly all ecosystems. At Cambridge, I will investigate the functional role of spiders in Southeast Asian oil palm plantations and how riparian margin restoration within plantations affects spider biodiversity and behaviour. As a member of the Insect Ecology Group in the Museum of Zoology, I will encourage the public to develop keen interests in frequently maligned creatures. I endeavour to specifically develop the curiosities of young scholars from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the natural sciences. From this PhD research, I seek to advance understandings of spider ecology, the management of biodiversity in tropical agricultural systems, and the public’s relationship with historically disfavoured animals.