Teaching Interests My main goal in teaching is for every student to leave one of my classes with an increased ability to think critically, logically, and creatively about evaluating information they are presented with on any scientific topic. Teaching at every level has its own unique challenges and rewards; I have been particularly drawn to engaging students who otherwise see themselves as non-scientists and helping them to develop the critical links between science and society that allow them to see why a basic understanding of earth sciences is important to them, regardless of their future careers or interests. I aim to offer students an opportunity to look at their environment, ask questions about it, and be empowered to investigate it with the right tools and resources for the problem. This happens through class projects, community based research partnerships (CBLR fellows; UWB news), and undergraduate research projects (Mt. St. Helens return; Undergraduate Research Fair; Limnology field day; Maiden Voyage on Lake Truly)
I’m also interested in the development of peer-mentoring practices to support college transition. Undergraduate students are often confronted with uncertainty and feelings of an “impostor syndrome” when they arrive on campus. Starting in 2012 I worked on the development of a peer-mentor model Living-Learning community in the UWB residence halls (LLC program; STEM LLC). The program continues with new topical programs and a strong peer mentor component (Peer Mentors at UWB). I have transitioned to working on a new peer-mentor program for first-year students in their third quarter that focuses on reflection, engagement and preparation for their sophomore year.
I help to develop and curate educational activities on MudEd!, a web-based collaborative effort to share informal educational resources in limnology and paleolimnology among researchers (lrc.geo.umn.edu/muded) and contribute to Teach the Earth collections hosted by SERC (Introduction to Scientific Journals; Using Apps to Engage and Assess Students)
Burke Girls in Science: Volunteer mentor for the Girls in Science program, which connects elementary, middle, and high school girls with female scientists from the Burke Museum and the University of Washington. These programs aim to offer real-world experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to girls who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities.
Science in the Spotlight (Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA): Every month, scientists from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds come to the science center to share activities demonstrating their research and sharing what it’s like to “be a scientist” with PSC visitors.
Catalyst Summer Institute (Saint Paul, MN) In collaboration with school district administrators and teachers, I developed and taught week-long programs for the Catalyst Summer Institute, a science institute and research experience for K-6 classroom teachers to inspire new interests, increase knowledge, and improve teaching effectiveness in the sciences. Teachers were mentored in short research experiences and then supported in brining their new discoveries into the classroom to share with their students.
Common X-Change Program (Saint Paul, MN) Developed lessons in cooperation with classroom teachers and led classes for 2nd and 3rd grade groups for Common X-Change, a volunteer program which brings scientists into area classrooms to inspire students and engage classrooms in investigative learning.