The field of biogeochemistry appeals to me intellectually because of the inherent connectedness between disciplines. The term denotes an exploration of the ways the physical, chemical, and biological realms are related with the goal of understanding the complexity of a fully integrated system. Linking concepts and disciplines together takes away some of the simplicity of how we understand them by themselves, but allows us to grasp a larger view of the world. Learning is also a process that makes connections between two areas that formerly were unrelated, thereby giving the person a deeper understanding of his or her surroundings. My main goal in my teaching is to aid students in making connections between seemingly different disciplines, as well as to connect science into their personal lives. By helping them see the vast array of connectedness in our world, I empower students to acquire knowledge on their own and transition from receivers of information into life-long learners.
I teach Scientific Communication at KU (syllabi are linked by year: Scientific Communication – Spring 2018, Syllabus-2016). It developed from previous iterations I taught at the University of Nebraska, which focused solely on scientific writing (Syllabi: 2013, 2014, 2015,). As part of this class, I developed a summary of Dr. Josh Shimel’s Writing Science textbook; you can download that Schimel in a Sheet here.
I am a KU Honors Faculty Fellow, which means a lot of my undergraduate teaching is focused on mentoring the students in our top-ranked Honors program and teaching honors classes. This fall, I taught HONS 190: HNRS 190 Microbes Making Food, about all of the wonderful foods that microbes help us enjoy. I am also revising my Introduction to Aquatic Ecosystems (last offered Spring 2017) into a Water in the Anthropocene class for Spring 2019. This fall, I developed EVRN 420 Careers in the Environment for the Environmental Studies unit. It is geared at juniors and seniors entering the job market. I have also co-instructed Principles of Ecology (BIOL/EVNR 414; offered Fall 2017).
Examples of Water in the News (from the Society for Freshwater Science Making Waves podcast episode) that I’ve used in Introduction to Aquatic Ecosystems are linked here. I have the themes nested as state, regional, national and global water issues.
Water in the News_Kansas (groundwater pumping in Western KS)
Water in the News_Regional (Harmful Algal Blooms in the Midwestern US)
Water in the News_National (Aging Infrastructure, emphasis on Flint Water Crisis)
Water in the News_Sea Level Rise (Sea Level Rise)
At the University of Nebraska, I taught Limnology and Writing Science, as well as graduate seminars in Aquatic Sciences. I was awarded the Holling Family Award for Teaching Excellence (Junior Faculty, 2015).
At Wright State, I taught Environmental Microbiology and Global Biogeochemical Cycles.