DU Diversity Summit

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting my research alongside fellow talented IRISE postdocs–I’m honored to be a part of this amazing cohort of thinkers that are working to affect change in higher education and in the community. We had a wonderful engaged audience, so thank you everyone for supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives here in Denver. Thank you also to everyone who helped make this happen, especially Tom Romero and Carolyn Coles. Find out more from the DU Newsroom.


IRISE postdocs presenting our research (L to R: Daniel Olmos, Holly Okonkwo, Angel Hinzo, Dale Broder and Pranietha Mudliar) courtesy of Wayne Armstrong, University of Denver


Ladies collecting data

This team of 8th-grade ladies is doing a great job with their research project. We are almost finished with data collection! Stay tuned…

Congratulations Kirsten

My stellar undergraduate Kirsten Fetrow just presented her first poster, and she did it at a national meeting!

I am so proud of the hard work and creative ideas that Kirsten has put into her thesis research. This project has been a wonderful collaboration, and I’m so excited about the impact it is already making–check it out: Kirsten ESA poster


Girl Power in Greeley

I have a dedicated group of 8th-grade scientists this year at Bella Romero Academy in Greeley, CO. We’ve spent the past few weeks observing guppies and thinking of scientific questions. We just narrowed the questions to the ONE! Are there differences in cognitive ability between males and females and between wild versus domestic guppies? We are using an associative learning task to measure cognition, and we just started designing our experiment. This one is going to be pretty fun so stay tuned! #girlpower

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!