Its been a crazy semester so far, and that’s even before all the corona chaos!

I’m very excited to announce that we’ve been able to find a couple little pieces of funding to support teaching, outreach, and research! We received a small grant from the Society for the Study of Evolution promoting local and regional outreach to purchase replica early human and primate skulls. I’ll be using these skulls for outreach with the public and as part of my General Biology and Evolution courses. In fact, I brought similar skulls to New Hope Middle School as part of their STEM Night last month on February 11th. I also brought along two MUW students (Anush and Cayla) to help with a handful of activities focused on biology and evolution.

In addition to the SSE award, I also secured funding from a MUW Alumni Association Faculty Enhancement Grant to support research using small-scale imaging and electron microscopy work at Mississippi State University. I’m not only excited to get over to Starkville to work in MSU’s imaging facility, but their machine shop is also working on more parts for me to upgrade my toe pad imaging equipment!

It’s also been a busy few months sharing research. I gave a talk summarizing undergraduate research that has been happening in my lab as part of the MUW Provost’s Faculty Symposium. I also gave a presentation to incoming nursing freshmen students as part of the MUW Navigating Nursing and Health Sciences event, giving new students an introduction to some of the exciting research topics that my lab focuses on.

Lastly, I’ve been involved with some important community events. Nate Emery reached out to me in December and asked if I’d like to be involved in a webinar for early career ecologists. I was excited to be a panelist in the Ecological Society of America’s Early Career Ecologists “Tips for New PIs at Teaching-Focused Institutions” webinar. We talked about our experiences finding faculty jobs and the struggles that come with them and shared our advice to other early career biologists trying to navigate the process of finding a faculty position. I was also a volunteer in the Mississippi Regional High School Science Bowl. The Science and Mathematics faculty here at the W run the MS High School Science Bowl every spring and I volunteered as a timekeeper.

I am now using my extra week of spring break to think about how I will be converting my classes to be online!