Teaching, Extension, and Outreach


Teaching is in many ways the reason I got involved with science. My earliest teaching experience was as a park interpreter for CT Department of Environmental Protection during a summer home from college where I developed environmental education programs that engage children and families in the outdoors. Since then, I have gained extensive experience in developing curriculum, teaching, and mentoring at the undergraduate and graduate level in introductory biology, plant physiology, ecology, computational biology, and computer programming. I am passionate about engaging a broad range of audiences in creative and memorable learning environments. I prefer an active-learning and workshop-style delivery of material that I have employed in university, professional, and public settings. Currently, I am developing teaching materials and website design for the Data Carpentry for Biologists semester-long course. The freely-available online course teaches scientists how to use general programming languages to manage and analyze their data. The developmental files are also freely available for instructors looking to customize the website for their own course.


Gaining practical experience in orchard management during my PhD was an important complement to my fundamental research program. I accompanied my advisor Dr. Brent Black on many of his farm visits and engaged directly with commercial tart cherry growers in Utah County for a collaborative research project. I also volunteered in small orchards of Cache Valley during pruning and harvest seasons and ran a two-acre hobby farm with fruit trees, vegetables, poultry and goats. From that experience, I developed a set of hands-on workshops for local farmers in Cache Valley including pruning tree fruit, chicken keeping and poultry processing.

Courtesy of Eli Lucero

I find that participating to improve science literacy and advocacy is an important activity for scientists. I have practiced communicating broadly across disciplines and audiences and seek to make my work broadly available. I have discussed my research on Utah Pubic Radio, gave an invited seminar at the Intermountain Bioneers Conference linking my two passions of rudimental drumming and pruning tree fruit, and translated my work in an interpretive dance video. To advocate for science, I managed community organizing efforts for Clean Water Action that sought to improve resource conservation and environmental awareness and visited Capitol Hill to advocate for sustainable agriculture and sustained funding for science research.