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Lauren Kepner was born and raised in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Her interest and passion in animals led her to attend Arizona State University (ASU) where she became one of the first women to earn her BS degree in Wildlife Biology. She then continued her education at ASU and earned a MS degree in Zoology. While at ASU she performed her graduate research on the movement and behavior of Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum), one of only two venomous lizards in the world and the only one native to the United States. Lauren has worked as a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the U.S. Geological Survey. She later earned a MA degree in Education and retired from elementary teaching for the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, NV. She illustrates and enjoys wildlife art and has published a number of scientific illustrations. On a lighter side, some of you may know her as ‘Ranger Lauren’ from the PBS Reading Rainbow series hosted by Lavar Burton. She was featured in the pilot episode which aired as the show's eighth installment in the first year of production (1983) and featured the book Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.