My teaching philosophy is strongly influenced by my own experiences as a student. Ideally, students conducting research
with me or completing my classes will leave with much more than comprehension of basic facts. I actively encourage inquiry
in my classes, and utilize open discussion as a means to accomplish this. I frequently stop during a lecture to ask the students
to think about the topic, and to ask how that knowledge was ascertained. My inspiration for this comes from a former college professor, who requested that we constantly challenge him to provide experimental evidence for the material he taught us. As
an undergraduate, these interactions helped me connect the importance of research to teaching, and served as a foundation
for my future career as both a scientist and educator.
I am also committed to teaching outside of the classroom. I enjoy bringing my students into the field and exposing them to field research, and I constantly witness births of new interest in science among the students. Field work is a powerful instructional method, and I seek to employ it in any course (as appropriate) that I teach. Finally, I encourage reading and discussion of recently published literature in my classes and with my research students to show that science, like learning, is a process that never really ends; it simply progresses.