I formally developed my teaching philosophy during graduate school with courses on higher education, specifically the ‘Preparing Future Faculty’ sequence and a seminar in teaching writing in the sciences. I have helped design courses and educational modules for K-12, undegraduate, and graduate students in ecology. With these varied teaching experiences and regular assessments of my teaching, my teaching philosophy and its effective application continues to evolve.
Guest Lecturer, Socio-Environmental Synthesis & Sustainability Research, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, University of Maryland - College Park
I taught a class on dispersal ecology and conservation including an overview of mathematical models to address spatial questions in dispersal ecology.
Resource Faculty, Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach, Organization of Tropical Studies
I led a group research project on the influence of light microenvironments on functional traits related to defense and herbivory of seedlings in Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve, Costa Rica in this graduate-level course.
Instructor, Quantitative Population Ecology, The Ohio State University (EEOB 5450)
This course covered modeling approaches in population ecology, including demography, competition, predation, epidemiology, and metapopulation models. Students developed independent projects related to population demography. I co-taught with Drs. Maria Miriti and Elizabeth Marschall and taught the final segment of the course covering interactions among species.
Resident Director, Tropical Ecology in Panama, The Ohio State University (EEOB 4420H)
I co-designed a study-abroad undergraduate course, in which students gained first-hand knowledge of tropical biology and conservation. Students explored the diversity of forest types in Panama, interacted with scientists at internationally renowned research stations, and gained experience conducting independent field research. Students communicated their learning experiences to the public through the maintenance of a student blog and brief video summaries of their projects.
Guest Instructor, Ecological Interactions, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (BIOS 454/854; Instructor: S.E. Russo)
I taught a weeklong section on the influence of herbivory on plant communities, with a focus on population regulation, species coexistence, and evolution of plant defenses in this undergraduate- and graduate-level course.
Instructor, The Ecological Role of Secondary Compounds in Plant Communities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (BIOS 497/897)
I designed a 2-credit seminar for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. To provide a historical context, the course reviewed seminal papers on coevolution between plants and herbivores, the controversy regarding the adaptive value of secondary metabolites in plants, hypotheses of their allocation in plants, and support for alternative hypotheses. The course included a discussion of the more recent controversy of the function of secondary compounds in ripe fruit and how this differs from their function in vegetative plant parts.
Guest Instructor, Introductory Botany, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (BIOS 109; Instructor: S.E. Russo)
I taught a class on plant population dynamics with an overview of population growth models in this undergraduate course.
Guest Instructor, Introductory Science, Augsburg College (Science 111; Instructor: R. Butkowski)
Science 111 is an undergraduate course for primary and secondary educators. I designed the ecology section of this course.
Guest Instructor, Introduction to Field Biology, STRI/ University of Panama
This is a field course for Panamanian undergraduate students to gain experience conducting biological research. I co-taught a two-day session, leading students through the development of a hypothesis-driven question, as well as collecting and analyzing data.
Teaching Assistant, Introductory Biology I: Evolutionary and Ecological Perspectives, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Biol 1001)
I taught two laboratory sections of approximately twenty students each in which students were introduced to fundamental principles of ecology and evolution. My responsibilities included grading quizzes, homework, and written assignments as well as strengthening students’ problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills.
Instructor, Ecology, Northeast Upward Bound, Lincoln, Nebraska
I co-organized and co-taught a three-hour lab session introducing ecological concepts to high school students in the NEUB program. NEUB’s mission is to retain students of families with low income or no post-secondary education in secondary education and increase enrollment in post-secondary education.
Guest Lecturer, Biology, A. C. Reynolds High School, Asheville, NC
I discussed the consequences of hunting for plant communities in a Biology class.
Instructor, Ornithology, Nature Camp, Vesuvius, VA
I designed and taught four two-week field courses in ornithology for middle and high school students. In my courses, I encouraged students to enjoy nature and practice conservation techniques, such as recycling and composting.
Instructor, Ornithology & Ecology, Boxerwood Gardens, Lexington, VA
Boxerwood Gardens is an arboretum, nature center and non-profit educational organization. During the fall and spring, I led outdoor ornithology and ecology classes of visiting elementary and middle school students.
Instructor Training Workshop, Software Carpentry Foundation
Teaching with Writing in the Biological Sciences Seminar, University of Minnesota
Practicum for Future Faculty, Preparing Future Faculty, University of Minnesota
Teaching in Higher Education, Preparing Future Faculty, University of Minnesota