Long before I was involved with research I wanted to teach. I originally went back to school to train for teaching high school. When I started volunteering in a lab I realized how exciting research was and how it helped me understand and teach Biology so much better. I think we can do a much better job of incorporating undergraduates into research  whether that be in the classroom or  through full-fledged projects. While my classroom teaching time has not been prominent here at Cal I have been fortunate to work closely with a number of talented and  enthusiastic undergraduates. While admittedly few students want to continue in mycorrhizal ecology when they graduate, most have been quick to see the parallels of this work to what they want to study down the line - which is ultimately the secret to getting excited about anything in Biology. In addition to mycorrhizal ecology, the students learn about the research process, how to think out problems, and how to synthesize the data into something meaningful and easily translated.

Higher educational issues that guide my teaching

Teaching experience

Undergraduate research and mentoring

Some of the students I have had the pleasure of working with include
Josephine Agbowo (2000-2001) - Josephine spent a year attacking high-throughput molecular analysis of ectomycorrhizal community samples. She used her research experience to land a  research position at a pharamaceutical company immediately upon graduation. She recently applied and was accepted to a number of medical schools. As a result of her work, Josephine will be on at least one publication dealing with the Teakettle community composition.
Jennifer Nguyen (Spring 2001)- Jennifer spent 4 months volunteering time to learn about the research process and molecular techniques - also tackling ECM community samples. She used this experience to help her get into Boston University's pre-med research program. Following this she also plans on attending med school.
Diem Nguyen (2002-2004) - Diem is an MCB major here at Cal interested in public health, among many things. She is currently working on characterizing the spatial structure of the spore bank at Teakettle which involves countless hours of sorting through ECM root tips and large-scale molecular analysis. She willbe a co-author on two papers.
Megan Canright (2002-2003) - Megan is and ESPM major here at Cal interested in use of prescribed fires for forest management (ie. she likes to burn things!). Also interested in imporant forest-dwellers such as mycorrhizae, she has taken over a project looking at the effects of heat on the reactivity of the spore bank. She will be a coauthor on this paper and will use this research experience to help her apply/decide on graduate schools.
Andricia Ramirez (Summer - Fall 2003) - Andricia entered the MCB program Fall 2003 and spent the summer working on ECM mycelial analysis.
Krist Bischel (Spring 2004) - Kristi spends a lot of time looking through small mammal scat - fun!

page last updated 9/25/04

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