Teaching & Outreach

Due to my extensive and irregular field schedule over the past 9 years, I have been well-equipped to support scientific education via public outreach activities and via collaborations with young researchers in the places I work. I’m very excited to return to teaching undergraduate and graduate classes in the near future.

Teaching

Most of what I know about nature I learned in the field or from a tome on natural history. But most of how I think about the natural world I learned from my physicist father. The natural sciences taught me to scaffold my knowledge of natural history in the context of larger frameworks—evolution, biogeography, Earth science, physics—that transform a tangled bank of facts and observations into a beautiful and coherent picture of how life on Earth operates. As a teacher, my goal is to introduce and cement this mode of thinking for students who grew up with neither binocular-strap tans nor dinner-table physics talk.

Five principles summarize my overall approach:

  1. Get outside
  2. Ask why
  3. Be quantitative
  4. Measure understanding
  5. Be inclusive

Outreach

I love connecting people with science and nature (especially birds!). In addition to giving presentations at bird clubs and leading field outings (ranging from morning walks to multi-day tours), I am committed to helping birdwatchers engage in community science via monitoring programs including Project eBird and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. My work for eBird, as a regional reviewer in Peru and Colombia, has involved making > 1000 contacts with observers (in both English and Spanish) to obtain details of noteworthy reports and to teach them to use eBird more effectively. I also organize and co-compile the Christmas Bird Count in Durham, North Carolina.