My goal as an educator is to inspire creativity and a sense of exploration in the next generation of scientists by involving them in authentic explorations of the natural world through use of the scientific method.
I’ve followed this guiding principle in the classroom by incorporating authentic scientific inquiry into all the lectures, activities, homework, and exams I design. Throughout my PhD I’ve had ample opportunity to practice this skill, both as a teaching assistant (7 times, ranging from introductory to advanced courses) and the instructor of record in a summer Zoology course. Going forward, I will carry this emphasis on learning through doing and my experience of implementing this principle into the next step in my career.
Outside of the classroom, my mentor Dr. Armin Moczek has instilled in me the importance of giving back to the community by putting our expertise to work in K-12 classrooms. Through the use of hands-on, educational modules which are easily incorporated into a standard science curriculum, I have been able to involve over 1600 students around south-central Indiana in inquiry based learning. Wherever I end up next, I plan to continue my outreach efforts by deploying these established modules in local schools.