Kenyon Macroecology Laboratory

Biodiversity and functional ecology, mostly plants


Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

–H. G. Wells.

Education is the foundation of science, not just in terms of training new scientists, but in producing a knowledgeable citizenry able to understand and support the expansion of scientific knowledge.

My particular passions as a science teacher are to help students to understand the process of science, to communicate effectively about science, and to build scientific arguments supported by data and quantitative analysis. As an ecologist, I want everyone to understand the unprecedented challenges of biodiversity loss and global climate change in the Anthropocene. As an evolutionary biologist, I want everyone to understand img_4041how evolution and natural selection help to explain how nature works and our place in it. As a quantitative scientist, I want all of my students to understand the power and insight that comes with knowing how to manage, visualize, and analyze data. Finally, as a recovering English major, I also want my students to be able to write clearly and concisely about scientific ideas for a wide variety of audiences.

I also really love trees and think that you should too!

Kenyon Courses

At Kenyon, I teach courses in the departments of Biology and Mathematics & Statistics. My regular teaching responsibilities include:

  • Ecology (BIOL 228) and Ecology Lab (BIOL 229)
  • Introduction to Experimental Biology (BIOL 109-110Y)
  • Elements of Statistics (MATH 106)
  • Mathematical Biology (MATH 258)
  • Global Ecology and Biogeography (BIOL 328)
  • Biological Scaling: Why Size Matters (BIOL 107)
  • Energy in Living Systems (BIOL 115)

I also regularly mentor students in my research lab.

KickstartR Tutorials

A few years ago, we introduced the statistical computing language R into both the Introduction to Experimental Biology lab course, and into Elements of Statistics. To helps students (and instructors) along, I created some tutorials on the basics of R for data management, visualization, and analysis. These can be found via the lab software/code page.

Kenyon Institute in Biomedical and Science Writing

In addition to teaching college courses, I am the co-founder and assistant director (with Chris Gillen)of the Kenyon Institute in Biomedical and Science Writing. Science is hard, and writing clearly about science is even harder. The KIBSW hosts a summer science writing workshops and provides on-site training to professionals in the biomedical sciences, including students, postdocs, researchers, and clinicians. Based on our experience with undergraduates, we have developed a unique curriculum that emphasizes both the mechanics of writing (word choice, sentence and paragraph structure) and the importance of story structure (narrative coherence and tension) to help science writers craft clear and compelling papers and proposals.