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.
Crow Institute (UW-Madison)
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 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.
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.
I mentor middle school students through the Botanical Society of America’s 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.
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 rise to meet the standards of difficult introductory science courses. 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.