Outreach and Service

Public outreach and service is core value of mine. It reflects my understanding that scientists have a responsibility to engage the public, improve scientific literacy, and provide students underrepresented in STEM equity of access to a rigorous science education. In addition to the societal benefits of science and evolution outreach, devoting time to public outreach is a way to give back to the community. Service occurs within the walls of the institution as well. Advancing access to undergraduate education and facilitating successful navigation of academic institutions is a goal that underlies my participation and contribution to academia.

National Outreach Activities

I mentor middle school students through the Botanical Society of America’s NSF-funded Planting Science program. Through Planting Science I work with science teachers by coordinating mentors for their classrooms, and I also mentor students in science classrooms. I highly encourage any plant scientist to consider mentoring students through this program.

Penn State Outreach Activities

I organize and implement outreach activity booths at Penn State University through events such as The Great Insect Fair, Think Outside the Beaker, and Exploration-U.

UW-Madison Outreach Activities

I was an active member of UW-Madison’s JF Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution from 2013-2018, and served as the Chair of Education Outreach from 2014-2016. In my leadership role with the Crow Institute I organized and co-led various outreach events, including workshops at the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers (WSST) annual conferences. We covered topics in K-12 education such as tree-thinking, molecular evolution, and evolution misconceptions.

I co-organized and hosted annual evolution outreach events in Madison, WI, such as Darwin Day, and organized evolution activity booths for events such as Wisconsin Science Festival, Science Expeditions, and Family Science Nights. If you are interested in any of our materials, please feel free to send me an e-mail.

University/Departmental Service

I serve as a council member of the Penn State Postdoctoral Society and organize our annual awards for Outstanding Postdoc Mentor and Outstanding Postdoc. These awards were created to emphasize the importance of excellent postdoc mentoring as well as to recognize the major contributions that postdocs give to the university and to their fields.

I also serve as the postdoctoral representative on the Department of Entomology’s Climate and Diversity Committee. I hope to engage the department in dialogue and action toward a more equitable and diverse research and teaching space.

Working with K-12 educators during my graduate education gave me insight into how varied student preparedness can be in the first year of college. I will continue to work with high school teachers throughout my career to better understand how to help more first-year undergraduates thrive in difficult introductory science courses. In addition, in order to advance access to undergraduate education and facilitate successful navigation of academic institutions, I aim to reduce the marginalization experienced by first-generation college students, students from low-income school districts, and students of color in STEM courses that I teach by examining the practices and environment set up at the college level.