I enjoy teaching and working with students both in the classroom and as a research mentor. During my graduate school training I acted as a teaching assistant for several classes, and throughout my career I have acted as a mentor for seven undergraduate and high school students, and regularly participated in public outreach events.
[Teaching Experience] [Student Mentoring] [Public Outreach]
Ge 1, Earth and Environment, Prof. Brian Wernicke (Spring 2012)
Ge 1 is the introductory geology course for non-majors. As TA, I led weekly laboratory exercises (focused on rock, mineral, and fossil identification), graded problem sets, and held regular office hours to help students with the course assignments.
Ge 121, Advanced Field Geology, Prof. Michael Lamb (Fall 2013)
Ge 121 is a graduate level field mapping and analysis class. The fall 2013 course consisted of a nine day field trip to the Channeled Scablands where students collected data and performed geomorphic mapping to test the hypothesis that the erosional features visited were carved in multiple flood events. As TA I assisted students with mapping and data collection in the field, led weekly post-field trip labs to analyze the collected data, and helped organize the field trip logistics.
Ge 125, Geomorphology, Prof. Michael Lamb (Fall 2012)
Ge 125 is an introduction to geomorphology designed for graduate students and upper-level undergraduates. The course is project based, with students completing two research style projects over the course of the term. As TA I designed my own lesson plans for weekly laboratory exercises which were intended to assist students in completing the course projects. This included instruction in data analysis, geomorphic theory, scientific writing, geospatial software (ArcGIS and Google Earth), and computer programming (Matlab).
Ge 136, Regional Field Geology of the Southwestern United States, Prof. Joe Kirschvink (Fall 2010 and Spring 2011)
I acted as TA for two terms of Ge 136. This class consists of a short (3-4 day) field trip designed to expose students to interesting geologic features around the Southwestern US. As TA, I designed the itineraries (including planning the geologic features to visit) and gained valuable experience in the logistics of field trip planning.
6th Grade Earth Sciences, McKinley Middle School, Pasadena Unified School District
During my graduate school tenure (2010 – 2015) I regularly volunteered (~6 times per year) in 6th grade Earth sciences classes at McKinley Middle School. For each visit I designed my own lecture and activity (on a topic which fits in with the material currently being covered in the class), and presented this material to the class over the course of a 50 minute period. Together with other Caltech graduate students, I have presented lessons on a wide range of topics including plate tectonics, biodiversity, controls on Earth’s climate, renewable energy, and more.
During my undergraduate education, I benefited greatly from graduate students and faculty who included me in their own research projects. As such, I have tried to incorporate both undergraduate and high school students in my research, as I feel this is an essential part of one’s development as a scientist. Over my graduate school and postdoctoral experience I have acted as primary mentor to seven students:
Conor O’Toole, Bowdoin College, Summer 2010/2011
Preliminary waterfall plunge pool and sediment transport and bedrock erosion experiments
Khadijah Omerdin, Westridge High School, Academic Year 2012/2013
Bedrock erosion by suspended sediment. Khadijah is a co-author on a paper documenting her work.
Gheorghe Schreiber, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, Summer 2013
Experiments evaluating the role of mixed grain size distributions in fluvial bedrock incision.
Juliane Preimesberger, California Institute of Technology, Summer 2014
Preliminary flume experiments exploring bedrock erosion processes at steep slopes.
Nina Golombek, University of Potsdam, Summer 2016 – Present
Bachelor’s thesis investigating oxidation of organic carbon in the Rio Bermejo, Argentina.
Toni Schmidt, University of Potsdam, Spring 2017
Experimental investigation of organic carbon oxidation during river transport.
Ramona Schneider, University of Bonn, Winter 2018
Experimental investigation of silicate weathering during fluvial transport.
I regularly engage in public outreach designed to promote interest in science and provide education on topics in geology and beyond. As part of my public outreach I have judged science fairs, led field trips for elementary and middle school students to a local river canyon, and participated in lab tours for the greater Caltech Community.
In Fall 2011, I also led a “Science Saturday” lesson. Science Saturday lessons are sponsored by Caltech, open to the public, and feature a mix of traditional lecture paired with a partial movie screening. For my lesson I screened portions of the Planet Earth documentary “Fresh Water,” and used it as springboard to discuss the evolution of river systems.