Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is hands-on, place-based, and community-engaged, with an emphasis on active participation in the scientific process and consideration of societal context.

Teaching Awards

  • Biosciences Excellence in Teaching Award, Stanford School of Medicine
  • Norman K. Wessells Award for Outstanding Teaching, Stanford Department of Biology
  • Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award, Stanford Department of Biology
  • Community Engaged Learning and Research Course Grant Award, Haas Center 

Instructor, BIO 128. Geographic Impacts of Global Change: Mapping the Stories

with Elizabeth Hadly, Sarah Truebe, Melissa Kemp

Forces of global change (eg., climate disruption, biodiversity loss, disease) impart wide-ranging political, socioeconomic, and ecological impacts, creating an urgent need for science communication. Students will collect data for a region of the US using sources ranging from academic journals to popular media and create an interactive Story Map that merges the scientific and human dimensions of global change. Students will interview stakeholders as part of a community-engaged learning experience and present the Map to national policy-makers. Syllabus

More information and teaching materials can be found at our website: http://www.mappingglobalchange.org


“There was great satisfaction knowing that the work I was doing for this class directly supported a larger project whose impacts would last well beyond the quarter ends and reach all corners of California. It was really unlike any other class I have taken at Stanford.” – 2014 Bio 128 student


Students bridge the science-policy gap to showcase impacts of global change, Stanford Teaching Commons
Cool New Tool Brings Storytelling to Environmental Science, KCET
Stanford students create interactive tool that tells the story of global change, Stanford Report

Community Engaged Learning

I am committed to teaching courses that break the university bubble and allow students to meaningfully apply their knowledge to real-world problems. I also believe that knowledge comes in many forms and can be found in many places, including outside of a classroom.

According to the Stanford Haas Center for Public Service, a community-engaged learning course is one that involves:

“engagement with a community that addresses societal needs not currently being met by governments or the independent sector; intentional integration of learning objectives and experience with/in the community; student preparation, ongoing reflection, and critical analysis; reciprocal benefits for students, community, and campus partners; opportunities to critically examine public issues or explore one’s civic identity.”

D_YIrNAU4AAlGXEInstructor, Conservation Paleoecology at the La Brea Tar Pits, Institute for Field Research

I led an intensive 4 week field course for 12 students, including daily lectures, exams, and field trips. I managed the schedules of 10 staff members to facilitate student experiences in paleontological excavation, specimen preparation, and collections management.

Short Course, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago


I led a short course for 40+ students and interested community members about the ecology, taphonomy, and geology of asphaltic deposits on Trinidad – with lecture, lab, and field components. My goal was to inspire student research on modern and fossil asphaltic systems on Trinidad – and it was successful!

Teaching Assistantships

Stanford University

Bio 43. Plant Biology, Ecology, Evolution.

Professors: Dmitri Petrov, Peter Vitousek. (1 quarter)
“Principles of evolution: macro- and microevolution and population genetics. Ecology: the principles underlying the exchanges of mass and energy between organisms and their environments; population, community, and ecosystem ecology; populations, evolution, and global change.”

Bio 101. Intro to Ecology.

Professor: Kabir Peay. (1 quarter)
“The principles of ecology. Topics: interactions of organisms with their environment, dynamics of populations, species interactions, structure and dynamics of ecological communities, biodiversity.”

Cornell University

BioEE 2780. Evolutionary Biology.

Professor: Richard Harrison (1 semester)
“Considers explanations for patterns of diversity and for the apparent good fit of organisms to the environment. Topics include the genetic and developmental basis of evolutionary change, processes at the population level, the theory of evolution by natural selection, levels of selection, concepts of fitness and adaptation, modes of speciation, long-term trends in evolution, rates of evolution, and extinction.”

BioEE 2740. Vertebrates: Structure, Function, & Evolution.

Professor: Betty McGuire. (2 semesters)
“Introductory course in vertebrate organismal biology that explores the structure and function of vertebrates with an emphasis on trends in vertebrate evolution. Lectures cover topics such as the origin and evolution of various vertebrate groups, organ systems, life history, locomotion, behavior, and conservation.”

BioMG 1290. Personal Genomics & Medicine.

Professor: Chip Aquadro. (2 semesters)
“Do you have allergies to milk or wheat? Curious about your family ancestry? Does a relative suffer from a genetic disease, and you wonder if you might also be at risk? How will medicine be impacted by DNA testing? How will your own future, your quality of life, your decisions regarding children be impacted? What are the ethical, legal, and social challenges we all face as this genetic technology becomes rapidly available to anyone with as little as $99 and a saliva sample? This course is not just for those interested in science, it is a topic we all need to have a basic understanding of to ensure we are prepared for what is rapidly becoming part of all of our futures.”

BioSM 1780. Evolution & Marine Diversity.

Professors: Willy Bemis, Warren Allmon. (4 week intensive field course)
“Patterns of diversity and processes of evolution. Topics include the diversity of life, the fossil record, macroevolutionary patterns, the genetics and developmental basis of evolutionary change, processes at the population level, evolution by natural selection, modes of speciation, long-term trends in evolution, and human evolution.”

BioEE 1780. Evolution & Biodiversity.

Professor: Kelly Zamudio (2 semesters)
“Considers explanations for pattern of diversity and the apparent good fit of organisms to the environment. Topics include the diversity of life, the genetics and developmental basis of evolutionary change, processes at the population level, evolution by natural selection, modes of speciation, long-term trends in evolution, origin of humans.”