Teaching philosophy

Teaching is a critically important endeavor to me because I feel I have a responsibility, based on my field and academic experiences, to educate students on how to be better scientists and informed citizens. I believe educating students on the foundations of science and ecology is not only necessary for their careers, but also for the greater good of their communities. 

I believe that an engaging, active, learning environment is necessary for fostering involvement, discovery, and intellectual curiosity. I aspire to create such a learning environment by providing applied, hands-on exercises, field experiments, and active question and answer exercises among students. I believe that the richest learning experiences are created when I feel passion for my subject and the ideas, struggles, and successes of my students. 

Students need to be clearly challenged in the scientific process. In particular, I focus on teaching traditional scientific learning, as well as the process of conducting studies, analyzing data, and communicating results. It is my belief that ecology students should be tasked with understanding: 1) why/how ecologists ask questions, 2) how do they go about answering those questions (sampling design), 3) data collection (field and remote sensing techniques), 4) how to enter and store data in databases, 5) how to analyze those data, and 6) how to communicate those data with peers both orally and in writing.

I am committed to providing strong mentorship to students through my lab and the department, and creating a culture where teaching and mentorship are a valued part of professional development.

Having fun out in the desert!

Having fun out in the desert!