Meet the Organizers
National Ecological Observatory Network - Battelle
NEON Data Education FMN Facilitator
Megan A. Jones has always seen a connection between nature, science, and education. She is passionate about sparking curiosity and fostering learning in students of all ages, with her work at NEON focused on undergraduates, graduate students, and early career professionals. To the NEON Data Education Fellows FMN, Megan brings technical expertise in working with NEON data as well as her familiarity with creating and managing the NEON educational resources.
Megan earned a BSc in Wildlife Biology at Humboldt State University prior to going to Florida State University where she earned a MSc in College Science Teaching and a PhD in Biological Sciences with a focus on evolutionary behavioral ecology. Her dissertation research focused on fitness consequences of cooperative courtship displays in the neotropical avian family Pipridae (manakins). Megan has a strong background in ecological fieldwork, particularly with birds, in both temperate and tropical ecosystems ranging from Alaskan tundra to the Australian bush to Ecuadorian cloud forest. For her, science, education, and natural history are not only a career but also a passion.
University of Arkansas
NEON Data Education FMN Facilitator - Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019
Kusum grew up in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India. She completed a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the Isabella Thoburn College (University of Lucknow), a master’s degree in Environmental Science from the G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, and a doctoral degree in Ecology from the University of Wyoming. She worked as a postdoctoral scholar and research faculty at Penn State before starting her current position as assistant professor at the University of Arkansas. She is married to an Entomologist and has two kids. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her kids in the backyard, watching movies, reading literature from different countries, photography, visiting new places, and learning about new cultures.
Research in the Naithani lab focuses on three complementary themes: (1) understanding spatio-temporal dynamics of ecosystem structure and function, 2) upscaling carbon and water fluxes from plants to landscape, and 3) understanding and modeling the influence of disturbance and global change on socio-ecological systems. All current and past projects combine field and modeling approaches.
University of Richmond
NEON Data Education FMN Facilitator - Spring 2018, Spring 2020
Kristine L. Grayson is an Assistant Professor at University of Richmond and is a teaching ambassador for QUBES, working with groups bringing teaching materials based on authentic research data to undergraduate classroom such as HHMI BioInteractive, DryadLab, ESA and TIEE, and the Data Incubator Group (DIG). She is excited to partner with the NEON education team to expand the use of their data resources in the classroom (with support from NSF Macrosystems Biology Award #1702701).
Kristine received her Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Virginia. Her graduate research, conducted at Mountain Lake Biological Station, examined the trade-offs of migratory decisions in a pond-breeding amphibian. She received an NSF International Research Fellowship to Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand to conduct research on sex-ratio bias under climate change in tuatara, an endemic reptile. Her current research examines the spread potential of gypsy moth, an invasive forest pest, at the southern invasion front.
University of Florida
NEON Data Education FMN Facilitator - Spring 2020
Geraldine is a lecturer in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. She focuses on teaching quantitative data science related to environmental sciences. She is also a certified Carpentries instructor - the Carpentries is an organization that teaches foundational coding and data science skills to researchers all over the world. In Gainesville, Florida, she is a founding member of the local R-Ladies chapter, organizing monthly meetings and workshops on the programming language R. She lives in Gainesville with her husband, 2 children, 2 bonus children and 2 cats. She loves to ride her bike, run the beautiful trails of Florida, swim and kayak in the magical springs and rivers, marvel at the beauty of nature in general, watch Star Wars movies, binge watch (right now: The Expanse) and read novels. Her current obsession are novels set in the South - Where the Crawdads sing, Florida, Paper Towns, anything by Carl Hiaasen, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil…
Geraldine is from the Netherlands, where she obtained a BSc/MSc in Tropical Land Use (2004) with a major in Irrigation and Water Management, and a minor in Law & Governance. She has a PhD in Agricultural and Biological Engineering (2017) from the University of Florida, with a certificate in Biological Systems Modeling. She lived in Australia, the Fiji Islands and South Africa before moving to Florida. She has used NEON tick and vegetation data from Florida for her post-doctoral research, and uses NEON data in het current courses. She attended the NEON Data Skills Institute in the summer of 2018, and is a NEON Data Education Fellows FMN Fall 2019 alumna.