In order to conserve wild life on Earth, we must demonstrate the intrinsic value of organisms by teaching others about the wonder and fascination of the natural world. By fostering a strong conservation ethic through education, I believe that teaching is one of my strongest tools to help conserve and maintain biodiversity on the planet. One avenue I have worked to accomplish this goal is by teaching students at the collegiate level. To this end, I have taught lecture and laboratory courses aimed to engage and educate students in three topics to date:
In 2017, I worked as a Resident Professor for the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica, where I co-taught an undergraduate study-abroad course in tropical ecology. The course – Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet – was offered through Organization for Tropical Studies and accredited by Duke University. Over the course of a semester, we took students to six tropical forest biomes in Costa Rica and Panama, during which they become experts in ecology, environmental policy, and research methods in the diverse tropical ecosystems. They also become proficient in Spanish language and Costa Rican culture through classes at the Costa Rican Language Academy and by hanging out with all the great Costa Ricans at the field sites. Please contact me if you are interested in studying tropical biology in Costa Rica.
Vertebrate Biodiversity and Herpetology
I have taught laboratory and field courses in both Vertebrate Biodiversity and Herpetology at Auburn University. Both courses introduced students to the anatomy, diversity, taxonomy, and natural history of vertebrates in the southeastern United States, but herpetology provided an exhaustive focus strictly on amphibians and reptiles. Both courses included extensive field components with numerous field trips, including weekend-long experiences. The courses concluded with students conducting independent or group research projects on a species of interest, and students gave presentations on the projects.
See below for brief teaching examples from Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica!