Undergraduate Outreach: As someone who has been greatly encouraged and inspired by female mentors in science, I have a strong commitment to facilitate and encourage women in science. I have mentored several undergraduate students in my masters work who have gone on to pursue careers in STEM fields, and I have mentored several undergraduate lab technicians in independent research contributing to my PhD research. I plan to continue to recruit and facilitate talented students from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in the sciences.
Elementary Education: I have participated in the Bell Museum of Natural History program “Saturday with a Scientist” focused on teaching about the evolution of natural toxins (May 9, 2015). This program involves designing a day-outreach event with hands-on activities as well as a 20 minute talk aimed at children ages 5-12. I am also working with the education coordinators of the Bell Museum to take their existing lesson plans concerning mammals and comparative anatomy and revise them in collaboration with teachers at local elementary schools. This project will provide lesson plans grade-targeted to their curriculum, and will include a short tutorial on teaching practice for graduate students with no teaching experience. These lessons will be made available to underserved STEM schools.
Public Outreach: Because of the charismatic nature of this system, it has great potential to be a resource to engage the public in evolutionary biology education. I have already teamed up with local organizations such as the Minnesota Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and several pest removal companies to mutually exchange resources, and help consult on and provide specimens for science education courses for a public audience. I have also done a Café Scientifique lecture to the public through the Bell Museum, in which I talked about and explained evolution of resistance to toxins in mammals, and emphasized the importance of understanding these phenomenon through the lens of evolutionary biology (Podcast available here: https://itunes.apple.com/itunes-u/cafe-scientifique/id423802311 "2015.02.17"). I am excited and motivated to contribute to the general communication of science through programs like these, as well as through museum exhibits and thoughtful design. I hope to eventually include this research as an exhibit at the Bell Museum showcasing research at the University of Minnesota.
Biomedical Application: This system has the potential for tremendous influence on communities that are greatly impacted by snakebite by influencing snake bite treatment as a result of this research. However, the key to integrating evolutionary insights into biomedical application lies in forming strong communication and collaborations between these fields. I have facilitated this by forging collaborations across disciplines to share my research with those who may utilize it to further antivenom research. I have already established several collaborations both at UMN in pharmacology, as well as at other institutions.