Position title: Interim Director, Biocore
363 Noland Hall, 250 N. Mills St.
BS Horticulture, U. of Wisconsin
MS Botany, U. of Maryland
PhD Plant Biology, U. of Illinois
Postdoc, Science Education, Michigan State Univ.
I teach and interact with students, faculty/staff, and alumni — all in the context of Biocore. In my position as the Associate Director, I guide the administration of Biocore as well as a number of other activities including teaching two large enrollment lab courses (1. Biocore 382- Ecology, Evolution and Genetics and 2. Biocore 384-Cell Biology), training graduate teaching assistants, coordinating Biocore peer mentors program, advising students on course and career planning, and mentoring students pursuing research projects in the Biocore Prairie and beyond.
I am a plant biologist by training, receiving my doctorate from University of Illinois in 1998. My graduate research focused on the symbiosis of nitrogen-fixing soil microbes that form a partnership with a group of woody plants known as actinorhizal, including alder (Alnus sp.), Ceanothus sp., Eleagnus sp. This type of ecological research influences the many types of investigations we pursue in the Biocore Prairie.
I was drawn to teaching as a graduate student and was so inspired and excited about teaching science that I pursued a postdoc in science education at Michigan State University from 1999-2002. My particular interests in science education focus on how students develop scientific reasoning skills through ‘doing science’ and communicating about their science. In addition, I am interested in student misconceptions that form barriers to learning, and the development of curriculum that engages student thinking and provides authentic assessment of student understanding. (See some of the projects and publications that we have done in the context of Biocore courses.)