A native Texan, Anissa was born in Amarillo and grew up in the country near the small town of Clyde, Texas. She has always been drawn to both living and prehistoric animals, nature and the great outdoors. "I have collected rocks and fossils ever since I had pockets," she said. "I must have packed and moved two dozen boxes of rocks the last time I moved." After graduating from Clyde High School she attended Cisco Junior College then later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas with a minor Archaeology. During her time at UNT she participated in two archaeological digs in Texas. After graduation Anissa moved to Florida to pursue a career in Journalism and while working for a small newspaper in Tampa, she began volunteering at Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary for unwanted and abused exotic cats. That led to a career in zoo keeping, working first at Big Cat Rescue and later at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. Through her work in Florida, she has travelled to Kenya, Africa 4 times and also to Costa Rica. After 10 years working with big cats and wild birds in Florida, Anissa returned home to Texas where she currently works as the Penguin Keeper at the Fort Worth Zoo. In August 2009, while searching the internet for fossil sites in the DFW area, Anissa came across the Arlington Archosaur Site and has been on the dig crew ever since. In October of 2009 she also started preparing and cleaning fossils in the lab at UT-Arlington.
"My favorite part of fossil prep is working with the very small delicate pieces and uncovering the beautiful details in each bone," she said. "It's like looking at the blueprint for an animal masterpiece, one brick at a time. It's amazing."
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