Flying snakes are perhaps the world’s most unconventional gliders, turning their body into a wing by changing shape and undulating in the air. In this talk, I’ll discuss our experimental and theoretical efforts to understand the biomechanical features that underly this unique form of flight. Some of these specializations, such as jumping to cross gaps, also appear in sister taxa, suggesting that some aspects of their glide system were evolutionarily co-opted.
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My work in teaching, scholarship, and service utilize a systems thinking approach. I will provide a framework for my approach to institutional change and efforts to reduce the structural and systemic inequities students and faculty face. I will outline the value of systems thinking as an organizing principle in the classroom. I will share strategies based on this approach that improve student engagement in classes and result in increased academic performance in our rigorous Biology classes.