I teach undergraduate courses in conservation genetics, wildlife measurements, herpetology, GIS, and museum collections and outreach.
Having the opportunity to ignite curiosity in the classroom excites me and drives me to teach. For those students entering the sciences, I believe classes have the potential to and should prepare them to make more valuable contributions to scientific research. For those not pursuing the field further, material should at the very least engage, provoke, and forge lasting impressions. I believe it is essential to show how lecture material is relevant. For class sizes that allow for it, interacting in real settings with the material is one of the best ways to heighten student interest. For larger classes, sharing examples from personal experience and research anchors abstract concepts to everyday life, and inspires students to ask questions. I enjoy sharing my considerable experience as a biologist working with a variety of taxa.
In all settings, I believe the classroom environment should be open, inviting, and interactive. I encourage classroom discussion, as I believe it aids in the process of understanding material at a deeper level, therefore increasing the opportunity for tie-ins to other concepts and applications. I embrace the opportunity for continued discussions outside the classroom as well, and I thoroughly enjoy my role as mentor to young biologists in the field and laboratory. Such involvement allows me to better understand the needs of students, strengthen relationships, and provide more in-depth exposure to the workings of the natural world. I strive to create an environment where students leave my class with greater curiosity, and are motivated to continue learning.