I was involved in many public science outreach programs as a graduate student, which have inspired me to make outreach a genuine priority in my future positions.
I was particularly involved in the following four programs while in graduate school:
Big Brothers Big Sisters Science Day
I started the annual EECB Science Day program with Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2010, and served as the sole/primary organizer 2010-2012 and adviser 2013-2016. This program invites BBBS matches to campus and offers a number of different science stations, led by graduate students and other volunteers, for them to play and experiment. We had the joy of about 60 visitors per year, with some repeats that we love to see year after year. Science Day has been successful far beyond my initial expectations, and I hope it will continue as a regular EECB event in the future!
University of Nevada Museum of Natural History
The UNR Museum of Natural History was opened in 2014 as a major intercollegiate collaboration headed by Drs. Beth Leger and Chris Feldman. It houses the herbarium collections from the College of Ag, Biotech, and Natural Resources dating as far back as the 1890s, and the faunal collections of the College of Science including thousands of insects, eggs, nests, skins, skulls, and other treasures that had been inaccessible in off-campus storage for years. I helped lead a student team which designed and constructed displays in the museum lobby, so that tour groups and other visitors can get a taste of Great Basin diversity and start to appreciate the usefulness of natural history museums for understanding our world.
Nevada Bugs & Butterflies
I was a member of the board of directors for this environmental education non-profit when I lived in Reno, 2012-2016. We run a native butterfly house and gardens which are FREE to the public when the season's right, and throughout the year you'll find our intrepid founders all over the Reno area with their traveling arthropod petting zoo. Nevada Bugs & Butterflies has been a great outlet for thinking about how people of all ages can be engaged with the natural world, as well as learning about the ways that environmental education can be supported in our state and community.
Molecules on the Road (MOTR)
MOTR is an outreach program funded through a NSF grant by my adviser, Dr. Marjorie Matocq. In a week-long series of labs, high school students observe a phenotypic trait (ability to taste bitter PTC), predict their genotype, and isolate, amplify, digest, and electrophorese their own DNA to test their prediction. We work primarily in underperforming urban schools in the Reno area, focusing on exposure to modern molecular technologies for educational enrichment and help meeting testing standards. I was in charge of most material prep and teaching for this program from 2010-2016, where I logged >100 hours of primary in-class instruction, including lectures and labs.