Approach to Education

My academic profile is incomplete without a discussion of teaching. In fact, education is a deeply-held passion of mine, and it was through the pursuit of teaching opportunities that I was first introduced to field ecology. I have experience with every stage of the teaching process, including collegiate classroom lectures, laboratory recitations, and curriculum design. However, my most extensive teaching experience is mentoring individuals or tutoring small groups.

Matthew (orange) and William (green) are high school students from the Glenwood School in Smith’s Station, Alabama who learned about ecological research as my field and lab assistants during a field course in central Panama.


I am a strong believer that sharing knowledge is a responsibility and should be a priority for academics. My position as a research fellow does not include a teaching position, so I have worked outside of my fellowships to involve myself in education. Through my lab, I have worked with elementary school educators to organize field trips and lessons. I served as a consultant for the redesign and implementation of an R-based curriculum in a graduate-level course covering statistical analyses and experimental design. Additionally, I waived a semester of my fellowship to make myself available to teach an introductory biology lab and gain experience managing undergraduate teaching assistants. In a smaller capacity, I enjoy giving conference presentations and guest lectures in graduate and undergraduate courses.

One-on-one or small group interactions remain my preferred medium for teaching.  These types of interactions maximize flexibility so that information can be conveyed in the most relatable manner for everyone. Accordingly, I emphasize the importance of individual meetings for my students and I enjoy mentoring undergraduate students interested in research. Introducing students to undergraduate research is personally important to me because my time as an undergraduate research assistant positively affected my career. I try to provide students with a clear and accurate view of academic research so that they can make an educated decision about their future. Ultimately, mentoring undergraduate students is an excellent medium for combining my passion for research with my broader desire to educate.

Undergraduate research assistant Riley Kneale attaches a respirometry collar in Panama.











Teaching Experience

2016 – Guest Lecturer, Organization for Tropical Studies Field Course
Title: “Lightning as an agent of tree mortality”

2015 – Graduate Teaching Assistant, Biology, 244
Taught general biology laboratory and managed undergraduate assistants

2015 – Course Consultant, R statistical programming
Assisted the redesign and implementation of a graduate-level, multivariate statistics course

2015 – Guest Lecturer, Graduate-level Experimental Design and Analysis
Title: “R programming within the framework of R Studio”

2014 – Guest Lecturer, Graduate-level Conservation Biology
Title: “Habitat Degradation and air pollution”

2014 – Field trip organizer
Insect collecting field trip for underprivileged children in Louisville Metro School District

2012-2013 – University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department Tutor
Tutored students, individually and in groups, in a variety subjects