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Education

Teaching

I currently teach a writing-intensive course in Animal Behavior (EEB 3412W), focusing on engaging students in the scientific process, in addition to communicating foundational concepts in behavior. This class is taught each spring. Students have the opportunity to conduct real research in animal behavior and present their findings at the end of the semester in a research paper and class "mini-conference."

I have also worked to develop a non-majors class in bio-inspired design. This class, explores what we can learn from the diverse solutions organisms have evolved to a wide range of problems, covering a range of evolutionary principles useful for biomimetic approaches. This class was initially taught as a freshman and honors seminar before expanding into a grand challenges class taught in collaboration with engineers and architects. This is part of a broader collaboration at the University of Minnesota between biology, design, and art.


Outreach

I am very interested in sharing the importance of science and biological diversity to a general audience.  To this end I enjoy giving public talks on topics such as insect learning and behavior, the importance of entomology, and bird identification and conservation. I also like to engage people in hands-on activities that display insect or avian diversity, plant-insect interactions, and methods of biological research. The lab participates annually in outreach at the Minnesota State Fair and the Ecology fair. From 2011-2017 I organized an outreach fair each year at the Animal Behavior Society. As an example of the types of activities developed for these events please see Caitlin Kight's blog entry on the 2011 event in Bloomington, IN or Felicity Muth's blog entry on the 2013 event in Boulder, CO.

 

A visitor lands on Lauren after a butterfly release at Wonderlab's "Adventures in Animal Behavior"
(photo by Naama Levy, Indiana Daily Student)