Outreach & Teaching
Paleontology, dinosaurs, and the history of life capture the excitement and imagination of the public. Because of this, paleontology is a key 'gateway' to communicating important scientific concepts to audiences of all ages, including extinction, evolution, and the impacts of climate change on the earth system. Please see my CV for details regarding my outreach and teaching activities
Photo by L. Broderick
In a time when scientists are becoming less trusted, outreach to the non-specialist public is crucial to maintaining an informed society that values the impact the scientific process has on our world. I am heavily involved in scientific outreach programs, from exhibit design in the Virginia Tech Museum of Geosciences, public fossil unwrapping events following fieldwork, engagement in science festivals, to giving public lectures to local and international audiences. All these activities allow my work to be communicated in an inclusive way to people of diverse cultural, ethnic, and economic backgrounds where they are, showing how science is for everyone and connects us all
My job as a teacher is to change the way students think about the history of Earth and life, and the implications of that new way of thinking for the present and future. Students often have an initial interest in ancient life sparked through pop culture, and are therefore excited to encounter the epic story of Earth history and humanity’s place in it. The overall goal of my teaching is not to simply communicate relevant facts, but to use learner-centered approaches to orient these facts both within the broader story of our planet and as part of an overall problem-solving mindset.