Dr. Tower is recognized by students and faculty for outstanding teaching, including the UCLA “Distinguished Teaching” award while she was a graduate student. She has studied photosynthetic organisms in the marine and terrestrial environments, in both the temperate and tropical latitudes. Like Dr. Brandon Lewis, Dr. Tower has also distinguished herself through numerous publications, professional presentations and long-standing research. She has extensive experience as a tropical biologist. As a graduate student, she participated in a Rapid Assessment Survey in Papua New Guinea for Conservation International, and her three-year post-doctoral fellowship research was in the lowland rainforests of Central America, based at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. Additionally, she is a certified Dive Master, with a Master’s Degree in the Ecology of coastal Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems. Dr. Tower has taught field courses on Coastal Ecology, Marine Ecology and Plant Ecology in remote field sites in California, Mexico, Central America and Papua New Guinea. Throughout her career, she has mentored many students through their undergraduate, graduate and professional careers, including several SMC students since her arrival at SMC.​