Teaching experience I was the course coordinator for NRE 509 - Ecology: Science of Context and Interactions at the University of Michigan. At ~100 students per semester, this is the largest field class in departmental history. My roles included working with graduate student instructors on inquiry based teaching pedagogy, course organization and logistics, curriculum development, and helping students design independent projects. I have also led undergraduate students in four discussion and lab sections (EEB 315 - Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases, winter semester 2010 & 2011).
Tiffany at Western
Mentoring I have officially mentored several students through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program at UM. Of these, I have worked most closely with Tiffany Carey (left) as part of my focus on allergenic pollen. Our work has resulted in two peer-reviewed publications, several presentations at conferences, and Tiffany has received the prestigious SEEDS fellowship through the Ecological Society of America. Our work was also featured in the Michigan LSA Magazine (180,000 annual readers). Other students mentored include Max Ramsay (project: the impacts of plant pathogens on plant survival), and Seema Patel (project: the effects of urbanization on deer foraging behavior). Other students who I have employed through my grants and subsequently mentored include Kendall Effinger and Megan Dolan.
Educational Outreach The bulk of my outreach was conducted as a precursor to my work on allergenic pollen. In this outreach effort, we looked at correlations between land use and pollen density, but our main focus was on our research collaborators, i.e., the 9th grade science students at Western International High School in Detroit. Participating students (~200 over two years), were able to gain hands-on experience about the research process, and, according to surveys they filled out, were significantly more likely to agree with the statement "I have the capacity to pursue a career in science." In addition, we were able to bring these students on field trips to UM, and worked with the same teachers to engage their students in BioBlitz; these efforts were highlighted on the UM Record Update website (also on youtube).
In addition, I assisted with the creation of a curriculum for seventh grade students in Ann Arbor public schools, which focused on the effects of climate change on tree growth and forest dynamics. Much of my effort went in to designing a fieldtrip that supplemented the in-class activities with hands-on learning experiences in the field. This fieldtrip gave students a chance to collect the type of data they analyzed in class (tree growth rings) and to see patterns between climate, topography, and species occurance in local forests.