What is your favorite class to teach?
One of my favorite classes is Animal Behavior because that’s my specialty. We are studying the effects of Prozac on Siamese fighting fish (bettas), and researching the choice of substrates for egg-laying in fruit flies. For other classes like Ecology and Evolution, I like to get the students outside for stream assessments and identifying small aquatic invertebrates.
Are you excited about the new science building?
YES! The new science building means more flexible spaces for teaching, including a greenhouse and classroom/lab spaces with furniture and equipment that encourage a wide variety of learning activities. This will also be true outside the class with more space for events like our annual Phylum Feast, where we celebrate biodiversity by eating it.
How is teaching in the cadaver lab?
The school year begins with a blessing of the donors, and we emphasize the learning that students will achieve: from someone's generous donation comes the potential for our students to heal future patients. Some students are uncertain at first about what their experience in the lab will be, but they rapidly adjust and truly appreciate the skills and knowledge they gain.
What’s your teaching philosophy?
Rigor and relevance. My courses are challenging--what's the point of just memorizing the text? Instead, we take the information, analyze it and apply it in new situations. Facts are also related to the student's own life and the "real world." I accomplish this through activities such as laboratories in which the student picks the question and the methods; no one, including me, knows what the answer will be. This is how scientists work.