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Disrupting Passive Engagement to Promote Student Self-Efficacy and Metacognition

I believe active learning requires disruption of what is termed the “Guest-Host relationship” commonly employed in classrooms. In this paradigm, students (as guests) are expected to adhere to the instructor’s (the host’s) guidelines for how teaching and learning should proceed. Alternatively, when a student’s own values and learning goals are reflected in course curriculum, there is a shift in the student’s role from guest to collaborator.

Beyond the Books: Crafting Engaging and Inclusive Learning Experiences

Given the rich diversity of knowledge, experiences and identities among our students, what strategies can we employ to ensure classes – both small and large – are both welcoming and engaging? My classroom methodology centers around evidence-based practices, vulnerability, and deliberate intention: from engaging every student through active learning to spurring critical thinking via ethical dilemmas and infusing lessons with societal context to address historical and contemporary inequities.

Investigating the Diversity and Function of Microorganisms in Serpentine and Non-Serpentine Soils across California

Serpentine soils, characterized by high heavy metal levels and magnesium-to-calcium ratios, exert selective pressure on plants and microorganisms. While some plants are endemic to these soils, most struggle to survive. Our research revealed that serpentine-indifferent plants, thriving on both serpentine and non-serpentine soils, may be sustained by their association with locally adapted plant growth-promoting bacteria.

Stable Isotope Analyses in Neotropical Mammals: Paleoecological Implications

Stable isotope analyses are powerful tools for reconstructing ancient ecologies and ecosystems, as they provide direct insights into dietary ecology independent of morphology. The application of stable isotope analyses, however, is not without limitations, as determination of food web dynamics using these methods often relies on poorly tested assumptions. In this presentation, I will address challenges in paleoecological reconstructions of South American tropical ecosystems.

Organismal Dynamics, Fluids and Sparks: Stories of Marvelous Beasts

Most incredible animal adaptations, such as flight or filter-feeding, have been shaped by natural selection in which the fluid environment has played a fundamental role. Similarly, at submillimeter scales, some tiny organisms use other phenomena, such as electrostatics, to their biological advantage. In this seminar, I am going to focus on four stories of my recent research that show how fluids, as well as electrostatic forces outline the animal world.

Fear Across Scales: The individual, collective, and community dynamics of antipredator behavior

Animal behavior is a key determinant of individual fitness, but also drives patterns and processes at broader ecological scales. By studying the drivers and diversity of individual behavioral strategies, we can develop a mechanistic understanding of emergent collective behavior, population dynamics, community structure, and landscape-level ecological processes. In my work, I use the antipredator behavior of African ungulates as a lens to explore the cross-scale ecological impacts of behavior.


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