I created a grant!

I am excited to announce the brand new Educational Outreach Grant through the Animal Behavior Society. I have been working on this for the past year with the help of the ABS Education and Outreach Committee, especially Sue Margulis. Our proposal was accepted, so we will be able to fund the first round in 2018. Check out the announcement!


ABS Educational Outreach Grants are now available for 2018! 
Successful applicants will receive up to $500, and their work will be featured on the ABS website in a new permanent section highlighting outreach.
Proposals are due December 1, 2017. 

Cricket research!

We are rockin-n-rollin with Kallie’s research! Did you know that male crickets use their wings to make those incessant chirping sounds that keep you awake at night? They use them to attract females so cut them some slack 🙂 The structures on the wings directly affect the sounds that males produce. Kallie is digitizing and quantifying the differences in wings among different populations. Stay tuned for her results!

More behavior in science fairs please

After a conversation I had with Stan and Sue at the ABS conference last summer, we decided to write a short paper calling for more animal behavior in science fairs. The American Biology Teacher chose to make it the feature article this month! Check it out!


PSA: This project happened because I’m on the Education and Outreach Committee for ABS. If you care about something, join that committee in your professional society. It allows you to interact with like-minded, smart people and opens doors.


My first Gordon!

So the Gordon research conferences focus on a specific topic and bring together a small number of experts on that topic. I attended the one called Undergraduate Biology Education Research: Improving Diversity, Equity, and Learning in Biology Education. It was quite an experience. First off, the schedule was grueling with talks and activities from 8am-11pm every day!



But I also learned so much. I had no idea that there was so much work going on at every level to improve biology education. The small teaching colleges and community colleges were well represented, but there were also people from NSF, NIH, nonprofits, R1 curriculum developers, and even big business people. It gave me SO much to think about…

Since almost everyone there was an educator who thinks about inclusion, everyone was ridiculously friendly. I knew one person going in to the conference and left knowing almost 100! Everyone I met was passionate and inspiring. I also took advantage of all of the optional adventures every afternoon: see below 🙂



Evolution conference

This was my favorite evolution conference yet! I went to so many great talks and chatted with so many talented and interesting scientists. I’ve been conferencing for so long now that I finally know lots of people. It was so great to catch up with friends, collaborators, and old acquaintances. Here are a few pictures form around Portland, OR.

One of my favorite parts was watching Sarah Fitzpatrick give an amazing talk as she accepted her Young Investigators Award. I can’t believe how many amazing scientists I’ve overlapped with–feeling very lucky!



Well I just completed the Avida-ED workshop in Seattle. Avida-ED is pretty sweet. Groups from many different institutions learned the software and shared their proposed implementation plan. Everyone had creative ideas for how the tool can be used to improve their teaching. I’ll be using it in my evolution course (BIOL 3010) at DU with the help of Whitley, my partner in crime. DU was well represented with Mayra and Gabby rounding out the crew. Avida-ED hosts 2 workshops per year and I highly encourage everyone to apply!

Step 1: submission

So I decided it’s time to celebrate all parts of the lengthy arduous publication process. Here are the big 4 in my opinion:

  1. Submitting
  2. Finding out it is accepted with revisions
  3. Finding out that your revisions are adequate and it’s accepted for real
  4. Seeing it in print

Today, I’m celebrating step 1!

I’ve been working with two talented undergrads since March to publish a teaching resource that we developed. It introduces natural selection, adaptation, inheritance, and mutation to students in grades 3-5 using an interactive game. I’m very proud of the product and hope that we can get it out to teachers. Fingers crossed!



Lab mates pretended to be 3rd graders and tested the activity in April.

More than anything, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Lindsay Todd and Lisa Keim on this project. They are bright, hard-working, creative, and great at communication. This collaboration has truly been a joy, and I can’t wait to see what they do after graduation, which is tomorrow :-).

Cricket research!

My stellar undergraduate Kallie Feldhaus received a PinS award from DU to fund her summer research. We’ll be looking at the effects of noise pollution and density on female search costs in crickets.


The lovely Claudia Hallagan has been showing us the animal-husbandry ropes.


The talented Gabby Gurule-Small has been teaching us how to run phonotaxis trials!


We’re so excited to get our project underway!

Femme in STEM

Nothing like a bunch of brilliant and enthusiastic middle-school scientists to inspire…


A few weeks ago I got to volunteer at a really amazing event called Femme in STEM. One of my colleagues, the amazing Faith Lierheimer, founded the event. Whitley Lehto and Gabby Gurule-Small put together a lovely evolution activity about animal communication that included live termites. They are SO little! And they follow the smell of bic pens–who knew?!