Teaching

Teaching is an important and rewarding part of my academic life. I enjoy learning about how the world works and I enjoy the thrills and challenges of passing along this information to others as an instructor. I have extensive experience in undergraduate teaching from one-on-one mentorship as part of independent studies to lecturing in large classrooms (>200 students). I have also mentored high-school biology teachers interested in incorporating biodiversity lessons in the classroom.

My teaching philosophy is pretty simple: teach the material as effectively as possible. To accomplish this, three central tenets guide me as I teach. First, I use a variety of teaching techniques and resources to break down hard concepts and I am flexible in how I teach based on different learning styles. Second, I encourage self-directed learning and critical thinking which are important skills to develop in any discipline. Lastly, I generate excitement about the material by trying to find interesting facts about the topic and relate it to everyday life. Because I enjoy the material being taught, my goal is to pass along my enthusiasm for learning to my students and foster curiosity.

Courses

Kansas State University

  • Economic Entomology (Faculty Instructor) 2019
  • Insect Ecology (Faculty Instructor) 2019

Swarthmore College

  • Organismal and Population Biology (Faculty instructor, team-taught course) 2018
  • Ecology (Faculty Instructor) 2017

University of Wisconsin

  • Insect Ecology (Guest lecturer and lab instructor) 2013, 2015
  • NSF Research Experience for Teachers (mentor) 2013, 2015, 2017

Florida State University

  • Conservation Biology (Lecture and lab teaching assistant)   2012
  • General Ecology (teaching assistant)    2012
  • Plant Biology (Lecturer and lab coordinator) 2011
  • Insect Ecology Experimental Biology (teaching assistant)    2011
  • Plant Biology (Lab coordinator, teaching assistant) 2007-2010
  • Experimental Biology in Foraging Ecology (teaching assistant)    2007
  • General Biological Science Laboratory (teaching assistant)     2006

University of Florida 

  • Integrative Principles in Biology (lecturer)  2006
  • Integrative principles in Biology Laboratory (teaching assistant)  2006
  • General Ecology (teaching assistant)  2005
  • Integrative Principles in Biology Laboratory (teaching assistant) 2003-2004

 

Undergraduate mentoring

  • Madison Lofing (2018). Do honey bees prefer composite flowers? Currently a senior at Kansas State University.
  • Ethan Chapman (2018). Local and landscape composition effects on leaf-litter ants in Puerto Rico. Currently a junior at Swarthmore College.
  • William Sandvold (2017). The influence of density and resource quality on biases in sex-ratios of bean beetles. Currently a sophomore at UW.
  • Savannah Bartel (2015-2016). The effects of grassland harvesting on ant communities and trophic position using stable isotope approaches. Currently a PhD student at UW.
  • Caitlin Bergstrom (2014). The effects of harvesting on the abundances of two ant species, Formica montana and creightoni. Currently at ICF International, Washington, DC.
  • Alexandria Wenninger (2013). The influence of plant morphology on pollinator visitation rates, seed set, and seed predation on Rudbeckia hirta and Verbena stricta. Currently a MS student at University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
  • Arsalan Arshad (2011). The effects of plant quality and herbivore density on the distribution and foraging behaviors of herbivores (Spodoptera exigua). Currently a medical student at FSU.
  • Alexandra Marsh (2011). The effects of plant frequency and density on predator and herbivore colonization rates. Currently teaching English in Korea.
  • Jessica Stanfield (2009). Latitudinal variation in plant palatability and herbivore preference in two perennial plants, Solanum carolinense and Solidago altissima.  Currently a lab technician at Advanced Environmental Labs Inc. in Tampa, FL.
  • Ordom Huot (2009). The effects of dispersed and concentrated herbivore damage on induced resistance in Solanum carolinense. Current a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M.
  • Ryan Eckert (2008-2009). Associational resistance among genotypes of Solanum carolinense.  Currently a research scientist at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, TX