I’m pleased to be part of a faculty that’s dedicated to providing a high quality and well-rounded undergraduate education to as many people as possible. Many campuses offer interdisciplinary learning — a holistic approach integrating writing, quantitative skills, natural, physical and social sciences with the humanities and arts — to their honors students, but few programs offer this invigorating approach to all of their students. In my opinion, many students enjoy interdisciplinary learning more, because it encourages them to connect their life experiences to their studies.
I am an evolutionary biologist, so all of my courses address evolution — but they do so in a variety of ways. The Visual Art of Biology addresses how the visual arts have influenced natural history throughout Western history, and vice versa. The History of Life is spiced up the by emphasizing how fossils influence pop culture. Evolution is a course intended for biology majors, but we dive into the arts nonetheless by simulating evolution through choreography — we literally dance our way through understanding evolution. In Science Methods and Practice, students ask their own, unique research questions about how species have evolved through time; then, they use published data sets to test their hypotheses.
College-level biology education research is an emerging area of study that responds to a growing need for science education reform. My primary research focus is in biology education research, specifically helping identify how students think about evolution, and developing tools to help instructors guide students to think more like experts. I have also researched how and why organisms change their shapes through time and space. Most of this work involves sea shells, specifically snails from a group called neogastropods that has thousands of species throughout the world’s oceans.