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    Pennsylvania State University

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  • Biography

    My formal training is as a microbial ecologist, but I have been passionate about pedagogy and teaching since before I pursued my PhD. While a full-time post-doc and research associate at Penn State, I taught an introductory ecology and evolution course in Biology and an introduction to organic agriculture course in Plant Science. I also received training on inquiry-based learning and effective problem-based learning techniques from the NSF-sponsored Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching (FIRST IV) and Science Case Network respectively. Building on that experience, I was hired by the Penn State Biology department as a full-time lecturer last summer. It is an exciting time to be in this department. I was given the opportunity to re-envision their introductory ecology and evolution course to be more engaging and have opportunities for community-based active learning. This is a work in progress. I also co-taught a new Freshman Research Initiative (modeled after UT Austin), where two sections of introductory biology students began learning how to conduct research rather than take the typical laboratory sequence. Forty independent research projects later and my colleague and I were still standing so I consider it a success so far. I look forward to discussing innovative ways to make our STEM sciences more engaging and learner-centered for our undergraduate students.

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