Riva received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College where she worked in the lab of Dr. Michael Moore, studying phylogenetics and systematics. She then moved to Penn State University to work as a technician with Dr. Claude DePamphilis on the floral genome project, developing transcriptomes and genome libraries for gymnosperms and parasitic plants. Riva is passionate about plant evolutionary biology and plans to complete her dissertation research on the role of gene regulatory networks in the evolution of floral development, particularly focusing on the TCP genes and floral symmetry. She received Honorable Mention for her 2012 NSF Graduate Reseach Fellowship proposal. In addition to her academic persuits, Riva has volunteered as a scientist/mentor for Planting Science (plantingscience.org) and is dedicated to the advancement of women in science. She was also a camp counselor in New York State and loves nature, hiking and being outdoors.
Riva hails from Buffalo, NY. She received a Berkeley Fellowship and entered the graduate program in Plant Biology in Fall 2012.