Courses and Topics I Could Teach, Based on Knowledge and Experience

Biology    Ecology    Wildlife Biology    Wildlife Ecology    Anatomy and Physiology      Genetics    Evolution    Population Genetics    Population Dynamics     Environmental Science     Ornithology     Mammalogy   Global Environmental Issues      Wildlife Science    Global Wildlife    German for Travelers    Field Techniques for Ecology    Landscape Ecology     Landscape Genetics     Urban Ecology    Applied Genetics     Animal Behavior     Behavioral Ecology     Zoology     Conservation Genetics     Conservation Biology     Human Genetics    Our Natural World    Research Methods    Environmental Racism    …and many more!

Teaching Experience as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Eureka College, 2016-Present

2018 – BIO300 – Ecology (lecture and lab)

2018 – BIO380 – Wildlife in America (lecture and lab)

2017 – BIO130 – Ecology in Ireland: From the Grikes to the Reeks

Every three years, a sports team at Eureka College has the opportunity to travel abroad for a competition. Athletic Director Steve Thompson, making good on some connections with alumni that are living in the Republic of Ireland, reached out to faculty to see if anyone would be interested in developing a course that could be taught as part of this trip for students to gain credit abroad. I jumped at the chance to teach Ecology in Ireland. Students that wanted lab credit took three weeks of intense classes with me before getting on the plane. Seven students and one student’s aunt joined on our trip to learn about ecology through the landscape of the Republic of Ireland. The 10-day trip started in Dublin, then from there we took the train to Northern Ireland. With lots of planning stateside and reaching out to Irish scientists, I was able to coordinate a field trip to the Botanical Garden in Belfast to meet with scientist Aoífe McAleenan, so that she could tell my students about the local flora and pollinators. Back in Dublin, we picked up huge passenger vans from the airport, and I learned how to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. Not only are the roads narrow, but people and sheep use them as we use sidewalks! I was very unnerved at times, but thanks to some awesome student navigators, we all got through it alive. From Dublin, I drove the van south to the Wicklow Mountains, where we got to see ancient monastery ruins and forests. In fact, there just happened to be an archaeological dig while we were there, so my students got to see even more of the history than the average tourist. We hiked 5 km up the mountains, watching the ecotypes shift from damp lakeside fern-dominated forest to more xeric forest to mountain meadow. From Wicklow, we drove to Killarney, where, in Killarney National Park, we saw herds of red deer. We also saw the invasive rhododendron shrubs that are taking over the understory of Irish forests much like honeysuckle is here in the Midwest. From Killarney, we drove up the western coast to Lahinch, then on to the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, and a day-long trip to the Aran Islands (Inis Oirr – the smallest, southernmost island of the archipelago). My students learned about competition and communities as we investigated the tide pools there, and later we saw seals sunning themselves on the beach. Once back on land, we traveled to Galway, and visited the Atlantaquarium, which perhaps wasn’t that amazing for students that grew up going to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago every few years, but I appreciated their focus on the species in and around Ireland and the history of humans on the island. From Galway, we traveled back to Dublin, where everyone took in some nightlife in the Temple Bar district. We also visited the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Archaeology, and the National Gallery. I can’t wait to go back. The people of the Republic of Ireland were absolutely amazing, and the views were like nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere else.

Kelp_InisOarr Your truly with kelp on tidal pools of Inis Oirr.


A gorgeous shot of the Cliffs of Moher by student Sarah Stewart (now alum!).


My students and myself (straddling the bank like a dork), about halfway up the Wicklow Mountains in Glendalough.

2017, 2018 – ECC101 – Environmental Racism

This course is one iteration of a mandatory freshman seminar course known more broadly as Justice and Civic Responsibility Seminar. Other professors have developed similar courses under this umbrella, including courses that revolve around topics such as racism, the role of artificial intelligence in society, mental illness, and the prison-to-pipeline system.  In this course, we explored topics of privilege, racism, and classism through the context of quality of life issues, including effects of chemical runoff, drinking water standards, air pollution, noise pollution, among others. My students and I investigated imbalances of social power and how they affect the lives of people with less political and financial clout. We started the semester with a historical survey of social injustice, and progressed through issues that people are still facing today. Students participated in a service working project with a grassroots group (Gifts in the Moment) that is working to improve environmental sustainability and fresh food access to the less privileged in central Illinois. With their efforts, the students collected 419 pounds of fresh food and helped distribute it to local families! Overall, this course was challenging for me, as I come from a biology background not a sociology one, but developing it with my colleague Dr Katy Everett made the process possible and enjoyable.

What the critics said: ECC101_EnvRacism_Fall2017_evaluation_report

2017 – BIO370 – Physiology

This course was essentially Comparative Physiology, even though we don’t call it that for some reason. Using the text Animal Physiology by Hill, Wyse, and Anderson, we walked through topics of body function and how they have been shaped by adaptations to selective pressures. Students wrote a term paper on a topic of their choice, for which they had to access the primary, peer-reviewed literature for information. Students performed peer-review, and after reviewing the critique from myself and their reviewer, presented an interesting topic from their paper. I believe this was an important learning tool, because it challenged students to find scientific papers, it exposed students to the primary sources for scientific knowledge, and also helped them to improve their writing.

What the critics said: BIO370_Phsyiology_Fall2017_evaluation_report

2017 – BIO305 – Conservation Biology (lecture and lab)

2017 – BIO281 – Animal Behavior

Starting with how behavior is genetically inherited and also how it can be learned, depending on the organism and stimuli, and then delving into aspects of animal behavior in relation to sexual selection, predator avoidance, prey capture, parenting, and also how human alteration of the environment can lead to some interesting and unexpected outcomes. I highly recommend the text that I used for this course: Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach by John Alcock. Of all this courses I have taught as a professor, this is my all-time favorite. It combines evolution, ecology, psychology, physiology, and statistical analyses in one course. My one regret is that there is no lab at present, and I am weighing the benefits of including one (one drawback: no animal labs on campus, so we’d be restricted to observing behavior of non-vertebrate organisms in the lab and the vertebrate organisms that we could locate in nature, with binoculars).

What the critics said: BIO281_AnimalBehavior_Spring2017_evaluation_report

2017 – BIO121 – Environmental Biology (with Lab)

This course was to teach the basics of biology from an environmental, not a human, perspective. We covered important topics of biodiversity and evolution, but also the fundamentals of how biology works, such as mitosis, genetics, and nutrient cycling.

What the critics said: EVS121_EnvBio_Spring2017_evaluation_report

(My favorite was the student that said I was his/her “spirit animal”. #lifegoals)

2016 – BIO242 – Introduction to Zoology (with Lab)

This course covers all the bases with animal organisms: taxonomy, physiology, anatomy, ecology, and evolution. I recommend the text we used for lecture and lab: Integrated Principles of Zoology by Hickman et al.

What the critics said: BIO242_Zoology_Fall2016_evaluation_report

2016, 2017, 2018 – Evolution for Everyone (with Lab)

Fulfills biology requirements for non-majors. I cover history of evolutionary thought, genetics, mutations, natural selection, artificial selection, genetic drift, selective pressures, sexual selection, and the importance of understanding evolution as a citizen. I am considering writing my own text book for this course, as I have not been satisfied with any of the texts that I have reviewed thus far. I need a text that can strike a balance between being too simplistic (i.e., graphic novels) and too scientific, expecting that the student already has a strong interest and a background in biology (i.e., Tangled Bank by Carl Zimmer). I love reading the original historical texts, such as Darwin and Dobzhansky, but that would not work in this non-majors course. I’ll take any suggestions you have in the comments below.

What the critics said: BIO136_EvolutionforEveryone_Fall2016_evaluation_report


Teaching Experience as a visiting lecturer in the Biology Department at Indiana University South Bend, 2013-2014

2014 – L102 – Biology Lab for Biology Majors

Topics covered included photosynthesis, molecular biology, anatomy and physiology, embryonic development, among others. Working alongside other biology faculty, I taught standard biology lab methods. I emphasized the importance of superior writing skills within a scientific framework, which students could demonstrate through lab reports and a semester project. I provided specialized guidance to a few struggling students, in regards to language and home-life challenges.

What the critics had to say: Evaluations_IntroBio2014_IUSB

2014 – N190 – Life Sciences for Elementary Teachers

Topics covered included evolution, basic anatomy and physiology, genetics, the nitrogen and carbon cycles, meiosis and mitosis, modern environmental issues, climate change, native wildlife, among others. I led the lecture and lab for this course. The purpose of this course was to teach basic tenets of biology and the physical sciences to future elementary teachers. I incorporated a range of teaching methodologies, including class discussion, pop quizzes, think-pair-share, and projects. Working with two staff members that had previously taught the course, I reorganized the material, updated the labs, and incorporated two natural resources labs: one focused on native plant species, and the other on native animals and animal behavior.

What the critics had to say: Evaluations_IntroBioTeachersLecture_IUSB

2014 – P262 – Anatomy and Physiology Lab

The topics covered included the circulation system, muscle identification, the reproductive system (including the female cycle and birth control), the urinary system, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, the digestive system, the immune system, among others. I taught two lab sections per week. This entailed a 1 hour lecture to provide background on the topic, then guiding the students through dissections and identifying parts of specimens and models. Teaching methodologies included pop quizzes, teaching mnemonics for help with memorization, and encouraging students to find answers for themselves (independent study).

2013 – L101 – Biology Lab for Biology Majors

Topics covered included plant systems and functions, bacteria and adaptation to antibiotics, meiosis and mitosis, population demographics, among others. Working alongside other biology faculty, I taught standard biology methods, while emphasizing sterile lab technique. I intensively taught writing skills within a scientific framework. I led the students on field trips, and demonstrated proper techniques regarding bacteria cultures and microscope use. I guided students through an intensive research-oriented group project, which culminated in a presentation.

What the critics had to say: Evaluations_IntroBio_IUSB

2013 – N190 – Animals Among Us

This course served as a gen ed science requirement for non-biology majors. Essentially, I included basic principles of biology and then used those as a springboard to teach intro to zoology. Topics covered included biological principles (the scientific method, what makes something “alive”, what makes something an “animal”), sexual and asexual reproduction, embryonic development, the taxonomic system, a simplified review of each phylum (description and example members thereof), speciation, population genetics, evolution, native wildlife identification, among others. I constructed lectures, exams, quizzes, and labs, incorporating a range of teaching styles, including pop quizzes, periodic feedback from students, think-pair-share, guest lecture by a scientist that studies a threatened species, a field trip to the zoo to engage in ethology, and individual projects with a final presentation.

What the critics had to say: Evaluations_AAU_IUSB

2013 – N190 – Life Sciences for Elementary Teachers (Lab)

Topics covered included evolution, basic anatomy and physiology, genetics, the nitrogen and carbon cycles, meiosis and mitosis, modern environmental issues (climate change, pollution, human population, loss of biodiversity), native wildlife, among others. I taught two labs per week, emphasizing basic tenets of biology. Students were introduced to teaching material for science courses that are appropriate and engaging for elementary students. In the labs, I emphasized proper lab techniques, including microscope use, DNA isolation, principles of the scientific method, careful observation, and accurate reporting of findings.

What the critics had to say: Evaluations_IntroBioTeachers_IUSB

Teaching Experience as a PhD candidate in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University

2013 – FNR373 – Summer Wildlife Practicum

I demonstrated mist-netting and bird handling techniques to students. I provided guidance to students regarding visual and audible bird identification. Instructor: Dr. Barny Dunning

2011 – FNR348 – Wildlife Investigational Techniques

I prepared specimens, graded exams, and trained students on trapping and handling techniques of mammals in the field. I set up a trapping grid and performed maintenance on traps of various ages. I presented lectures when the instructor was unavailable. Instructor: Dr. Harmon Weeks

2009, 2011 – FNR488 – Global Environmental Issues

I prepared materials for class, guided discussions and graded exams. Instructor: Dr. Barny Dunning

Teaching Experience as a Masters Student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at THE Ohio State University

2006 – SENR624 – Wildlife Identification and Management

I taught lab, created and graded quizzes and exams, managed the sample collection, and assisted students with identification of wildlife sign and samples. I also guided students through necropsies of Canada geese, and provided assistance with trapping small mammals and demonstrating radiotelemetry in the field. Instructors: Drs. Stan Gehrt, Robert Gates, and Paul Rodewald

2004, 2005 – SENR222 – Natural Resources Data Analysis

I taught recitation and lab, graded homework, and helped students with problems. Instructor: Dr. Bill Christenson

Teaching Experience as a Fulbright Scholar in Vienna, Austria

2002-2003 – Fulbright Scholarship – Gymnasium und Volksschule Maria Regina der Kongregation der Schwestern vom Armen Kinde Jesu, Billrothgymnasium

As a native speaker of English, I created novel lessons for elementary and high school students. This included demonstrating songs, dialogue, and American customs. I also coordinated with several teachers at each school to best serve their interests.


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