- PhD | 2006 | Pennsylvania State University, Ecology
I am a population biologist focusing on plant invasions and effective teaching and mentoring. My research interests include the spread and spatial dynamics of invasive species, which is often driven by human activities. I use a variety of methods in my research, including synthesizing field experiments and mathematical modeling. My teaching interests include building scientific skills in the classroom, especially scientific thinking, communication and quantitative skills, and working closely with students to develop these skills on applied research questions.
I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences at Cleveland State University. Before that, I was an Assistant Professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a public honors college. In 2012, I conducted research on invasive goldenrods at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the University of Pecs, supported by a Fulbright Scholar grant. I was a senior project associate and postdoctoral scholar in the Weed Ecology group at Penn State from 2006-2011, working on the human-mediated spread of Japanese stiltgrass. My doctoral work was in the Biology Department at Penn State, focused on the coexistence patterns of two congeneric invasive thistle species. I had previously conducted ecological research on metapopulations at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München while enrolled as a geology student. During my bachelor’s degree, in physics and German, I conducted summer research on crystal growth, which sparked my initial interest in simulation modeling.
I have experience and training in the application of learner-centered teaching techniques for undergraduate biology teaching through my involvement in the Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching IV (FIRST IV) program, funded by the National Science Foundation. In recognition of my enthusiastic participation in this program, I was invited to join the leadership team of FIRST IV, and I helped train the next cohort of postdocs as a Regional Team Leader. I was also recognized nationally for my engagement with teaching with an Education Scholar Award from the Ecological Society of America.