Associate Professor & Biology in Belize Study Abroad Program Director
I have been teaching at the University of West Georgia since 2013 and bring with me a passion for teaching a variety of biology courses on campus and abroad, and getting students engaged in field research and experiential learning. I was inspired to develop a study abroad program in Biology at UWG by my own experiences studying in London, Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, and at marine field stations in Oregon, California, and New Hampshire. To get a flavor for the Tropical Biology Study Abroad course to Belize I teach in Maymester, which emphasizes biodiversity, natural resources and culture, click here.
My research focuses on marine invertebrate ecology, with an overarching theme of understanding natural processes that influence biodiversity observed in nature. Three projects are currently underway in my lab: the first utilizes ecological surveys to asses native and non-native mussel species on the Southeastern U.S. coast, the second evaluates invertebrate fouling community biodiversity on mangrove roots in Bocas del Toro, Panama, and the third determines gene flow and biogeographical patterns of the hooked mussel, Ischadium recurvum, along the North American coastline (an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Frank Fontanella, UWG Biology). Research conducted by my lab group has recently been featured in a short film produced by the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Florida (click here), highlighting work surveying native and non-native mussel distribution and abundance in the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida.
A Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) study I lead seeks to understand how students best learn while taking part in a short term faculty led study abroad program to Belize, utilizing my Biology in Belize program as a model. Additionally, I have an ongoing collaboration with Jessica Renard from the UWG Office of Education Abroad to educate potential study abroad program directors on how to develop and execute their future programs based on previous experiences leading and coordinating study abroad programs.
Education / Degrees
- B.S., Biology, Philosophy minor, University of Scranton, 2008
- Ph.D., Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of New Hampshire, 2013