I am a co-founder of Data Nuggets, an innovative approach to bring cutting edge research and authentic data into K-16 classrooms. As a graduate student I had the opportunity to collaborate with teachers as part of the NSF GK-12 program. It was through these interactions that I learned students are struggling working with and interpreting data from scientific investigations. I knew that as a scientist I had the opportunity to share my research story and data with students to help engage them with science. Working with authentic data gives students the opportunity to practice interpreting and working with “messy data” that results from true exploration, and could better prepare them for their own inquiry investigations in the future. Data Nuggets reveal to students how the process of science really works and increase the connections between scientists and the public. As an added benefit, scientists who create Data Nuggets broaden the impact of their research by communicating to new audiences and honing the story of their research.
My work on Data Nuggets includes science education research, curriculum development, running training workshops for scientists looking to improve their science communication, and running professional development for teachers. My research will help to determine whether Data Nuggets increase student quantitative reasoning abilities and interest and engagement in science.
Currently I am a postdoctoral researcher at MSU’s BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, advised by Louise Mead. I completed my PhD in Plant Biology and EEBB at MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station as a member of Jennifer Lau’s Lab. My dissertation research focused on invasive plants in Michigan and whether release from enemies, like herbivores and disease, could drive their success over native plants.