I teach to prepare students for critical, creative, and curious evaluation of the world they inhabit, whether they become ecologists or not. Ecologists have long integrated empirical expertise with theory to explore complex problems. Increasingly, in addition to attaining expert-level ecosystem-specific knowledge, contemporary ecologists are being asked to engage with sophisticated data structures, quantitative approaches, and computational problems. Such a diversity of required skills can be daunting for students. My approach to teaching ecology cultivates fundamental content expertise and promotes student capacity to adapt to the rapidly changing face of ecology.
Further, students are often drawn to science with a desire to solve big problems, but then told throughout their education that engaging with societal problems must wait until late in their scientific career. Given the urgent societal and environmental problems we face on a global scale, such student motivations must be centered through the prioritization of scientific communication training and engagement with users outside of academia. Overall, my goal is to foster individual student strengths and potential, and especially lift up and engage with those who do not see themselves as scientists.
Public lecture, Corvallis Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon (2015)
Day of coastal climate change lectures in Tillamook High School science classes, Tillamook Oregon (2012)
Public outreach booth & Family Science Days at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, Vancouver BC (2012)
Oregon State University's Winter Wonderings Grade School Program (2012)
Oregon State University's Darwin's Legacy annual event for rural high school students (2011-2012)
Training: COMPASS graduate science communication 10-week course (2012), Oregon State University's graduate teacher training course (2010-2011) and facilitation training (2012) Student mentoring: mentored undergraduate students at Oregon State University to establish independent field experiments, to conduct, analyze & present independent laboratory research, write grants (2012-2015); recently & currently participate in several one-on-one mentoring programs aimed at facilitating the success of underrepresented groups in science (e.g., Ecological Society of America SEEDS, University of Chicago Women's Athletic Association Alumni Mentoring Programs)