When you are a kid, you are born a scientist.
What does a scientist do? We look up and we say: I wonder what that is. Let me go find out. Let me poke it. Let me turn it around. . .
That is what we do as human beings.
~Neil deGrasse Tyson
Courses Taught as Instructor of Record:
Oceans and Atmosphere, Edgewood College
Intro to Natural Sciences for Elementary Educators, Edgewood College
Courses Taught as Teaching Assistant:
Historical Geology, Univ. Wisc.-Madison
Evolution & Extinction, Univ. Wisc.-Madison
Introduction to Geologic Structures, Univ. Wisc.-Madison
Historical Geology, West Virginia Univ.
Paleontology, West Virginia Univ.
Introductory Geology, West Virginia Univ.
Head Teaching Assistant (2019-2021)
Department of Geoscience
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Science as a discipline can often be intimidating, yet we inherently interact with and observe scientific principles in our everyday life. My goals in teaching and in outreach are to break down the stigma around scientific thinking and encourage people to use their observations and reflect on their own experiences to better understand how the Earth system works. This is often best accomplished in the lab or field, where students have an opportunity to make observations, form hypotheses, and test them, ultimately being active in their learning and creating more experiences for them to recall upon for understanding. Similarly, I strive for students to be able to connect what they are learning to the real world applications and implications. How do humans impact phenomena such as ocean acidification, global warming, and changes in ocean circulation, and conversely what are the societal implications of perturbing these Earth systems? By teaching about Earth's history, I also hope to provide greater historical context needed to better evaluate modern changes in the Earth system. I believe that by breaking down stereotypes of who can be a scientist and highlight that anyone is able to think scientifically, we can help students and the public to become more informed global citizens and advocates for our Earth.
For those yearning to pursue a career in the geosciences, my teaching strives to push students beyond understanding and recall, to the point of application, analysis, and even creation. To do this, I believe in a holistic approach, where we don't only spend time teaching theory but also provide opportunities for advanced-level students to work with real world data, learn how to navigate scientific literature, and gain experience thinking about the minutia of experiment design, particularly in forming testable hypotheses and identifying an appropriate sampling plan and methodology. By providing insight, training, and exposure into all aspects of scientific progress, I hope to contribute to student growth towards becoming independent scientists.
Leading a field trip for Historical Geology students investigating the expression of the Sauk Sequence in central Wisconsin.
All smiles after a long day of teaching field mapping in the Black Hills of South Dakota with former Introduction to Geologic Structures student, Lisa.
My winning image from University of Wisconsin-Madison's 2018 Cool Science Image Contest. Learn more about the contest and other winners here.
As a scientist, it is my duty to share my work and advances in the field of geoscience with the public. Similar to my teaching philosophy, I believe anyone, at any age, has the ability to learn and appreciate many aspects of our natural world. Outreach allows me to share my joy for geoscience with others, help inform interested citizens, and hopefully inspire the next generation of diverse geoscientists.
Wisconsin Science Weekend: Rocks Beneath Your Feet informational booths
Madison School Forest geology lessons for local third graders
Cool Science Art Exhibit
Geo-hikes and simulated Dino-Digs with local scout troupes
Reading geology stories with local primary school children