Teaching and outreach

Teaching

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Students in my field botany class investigate a wild peony population in southern Oregon (2010)

I enjoy teaching a range of topics related to ecology, lichenology, botany and science communication. As an educator, I strive to help all my students think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively with diverse groups.

I help students develop as independent scientists by emphasizing skills for scientific inference, particularly study design and analysis methods. I also encourage students of ecology to gain inspiration and ideas by spending time observing the natural world.

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Exploring urban lichen communities on the edge of campus — lichenology workshop for the UC Berkeley Jepson Herbarium (2018)

Taking students in the field is one of my favorite parts of teaching, and I love the unique opportunities for learning that occur hiking along a trail, where examples of connections between plant communities and landscape context are in panoramic abundance.

In the spring of 2017, during my time as a postdoc at UC Davis, I designed and taught a three-credit lichenology course with lecture, lab and field components through UCD’s Environmental Science and Policy Department. Designing a course on one of my favorite topics was both a lot of fun and a great learning experience, and the course was attended by a group of motivated and enthusiastic students. California has a remarkably low ratio of lichenologists to lichen species, so I am pleased to note that almost a third of the students from my class engaged in independent research involving lichens after the course ended.

For more information on my teaching experience, please see my CV.

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Students from my UC Davis Lichenology course try on Ramalina menziesii  (California’s state lichen) wigs on one of our field trips at the UCD Quail Ridge Reserve – a veritable lichen diversity hot-spot! See some of the creative outreach materials the students created.

Outreach

I believe that connecting and communicating with diverse groups outside of academia is a key part of being a scientist. To this end, I build relationships with land managers, members of the conservation community, and the general public through collaborative projects, outreach events, and citizen science projects.

I particularly enjoy leading plant and lichen identification workshops for people of all experience levels. Please contact me if you’re interested in having me speak or lead a workshop at an event.

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Presenting my research results to land managers at the Missouri Department of Conservation

 

 

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