I have mentored two University of Michigan undergraduate students through UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program): Rebecca Clemons and Nick Farrugia. Rebecca's project focused on how habitat fragmentation impacts infection prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a fungal pathogen of Brazilian amphibians. Nick studied non-fungal eukaryotic pathogens in frogs from different habitat types (natural Atlantic rainforest vs. agroforest) in Bahia, Brazil.
I also have mentored a cohort of elementary to middle school students in an underserved SE Michigan community (Ypsilanti) for the past five years as a Science Olympiad coach. One of our first tournaments is pictured in the banner photo above.
Between the end of my master's and the beginning of my PhD, I worked as a Herpetologist at Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation. While employed at NAP, I gained experience both in educating/training the public, and in organizing citizen science surveys (in this case, of frogs and toads, turtles, and salamanders).
I later participated in the Detroit Zoo's Portal to the Public Science Communication Fellowship. Through this fellowship I gained training in communicating science with non-scientific audiences of all ages, and created a hands-on table top activity about my research on disease susceptibility in frogs. I have taken part in "Scientist Days" at the Detroit Zoo and Ann Arbor Summer Fest where members of the public (especially children) come to visit a table of scientists presenting research through hands-on activities.
I also gained training through the Toledo Zoo's Amphibian Academy. At this workshop, I not only learned about amphibian conservation techniques, but also about engaging the public in amphibian biology, advocacy, and citizen scientist research.
For me, community work is more than just "Broader Impacts" - it is a privilege and a responsibility. I also find this work to be personally fulfilling. Sharing my fascination of science with others reminds me why I want to be a scientist.
Throughout my PhD I have volunteered with University of Michigan F.E.M.M.E.S. (Women+ Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and the Science). F.E.M.M.E.S. is a community engagement and advocacy group that supports women and girls in STEM fields. We host biannual Capstone events that bring together hundreds of 4th-6th grade girls from Michigan for a fun-filled day of hands-on STEM activities. I have volunteered with F.E.M.M.E.S. for the past six years and have served on the executive board for the past three years.
I also have served as a Genetics instructor for middle schoolers through the University of Michigan GISE (Girls in Science and Engineering) Camp for three years (2016-2018). Through collaborations with co-instructors I have developed a curriculum focused on hands-on active learning that also highlights the achievements and contributions of women scientists historically and today.