I am a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, where I received my PhD in Plant Community Ecology. I have a passionate interest in community ecology and as a scientist, I feel a responsibility for teaching and mentoring in both academic and non-academic situations, where my audience consists of individuals from myriad backgrounds and experiences. My interest in teaching began as an undergraduate, when I tutored middle school students in science and mathematics. I have also worked as a tutor at the community college level and for adults seeking their GEDs. More recently, as an associate instructor and an adjunct professor at Randolph-Macon College, I have taught undergraduate students in topics including general biology, ecology, evolution, and ecosystem sustainability.
My teaching philosophy and the practices that I use to carry it out, have evolved over my years as a professional in higher education. I believe transparency and organization are essential to developing student trust and confidence. As an instructor, I clearly state course learning objectives, structure, and schedule in syllabi and provide reminders and updates at the beginning of every class.
I believe that learning includes more than what happens in the classroom. I have found that be a successful teacher, I myself must be a student of learning. I need to understand how the modern student connects with the material and how they learn and retain the content. Students, especially those in the sciences, need to physically interact with the material through immersive and hands-on projects and to think critically about what the data means and how to apply it.
As an instructor, my role is also one of facillitation, whereby student thought, preparation, and participation is more actively fostered. I am invested in community outreach that bridges gaps between academic knowledge and applied community action. From planning and installing native plant gardens to promoting outreach experiences from people from all walks of life, I love to roll up my sleeves, get my hands dirty, and talk about science!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Loyola University-Chicago - Bachelor of Science, Biology, General
Graduate Degree: Indiana University-Bloomington - Doctor of Philosophy, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
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