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About Me

Marissa Keys (undergrad research assistant) and I (right-hand side) examine a sweep net for leaf hoppers, a pest on alfalfa (2012, Chronicle of Higher Education).

I graduated in 2007 with a PhD in Ecology from Pennsylania State University (PSU), where I researched metabolic responses of microorganisms to changes in temperature.  Since then, I’ve been researching new topics (fungal pathogen interactions with a variety of plant hosts and sustainable dairy cropping systems) and teaching ecology at a variety of institutions, both large and small.  I’ve consistently done both of these things because I am passionate about teaching and mentoring, and my long-term goal is to find a faculty position at a small liberal arts college, where I will balance both on a daily basis.

Currently:

  • I am an instructor at PSU in the Biology Department and have been one for the past 5 years for an introductory Ecology course, titled ‘Biology of Populations and Communities’.  In this course, we are trying to engage students with case studies and inquiry-based activities.  If we can excite students about the relevance of ecology to their own lives during the bleak months of January, February,and March, in central PA, I feel we have succeeded in this course.
  • I am also currently a post-doctoral researcher and manager for a large sustainable dairy cropping systems project at Penn State University.  The 14 faculty, 6 graduate students, numerous undergraduates, and myself are testing the systems we designed to minimize inputs, such as fertilizers, fossil fuels, and pesticides, while maximizing agronomic production and profitability. Check out our website: http://cropsoil.psu.edu/research/cropping-systems.
Please find more information in the rest of my website.  Thanks for stopping by!

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