What brought you to Hood College?
It reminds me of my alma mater: small, cohesive, liberal arts school with a gorgeous campus.
What do you value most about your relationship with graduate students?
The mature, motivated quality that they all have. You can tell that each of them is responsible for securing their master’s degree (and often in hopes of furthering their family’s life) because they all are super committed, hard-working people.
What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching in the graduate school at Hood?
Working with “career changers.” It is amazing to watch someone with a business, marketing or other unrelated degree transition into our environmental biology program. These career changers, in particular, have such a positive, energetic outlook on the field—they really want to change the world, in addition to their current career path.
Describe your approach to teaching.
Problem-based. My favorite strategy is to lecture on a topic, then give students a real-world problem to solve based on that lecture.
What is/are your most memorable moment/s at Hood?
The graduation of my first research student in the master’s degree program in May 2011. She is one of the smartest and most dedicated people I know—and she had an excitement that day that is hard to describe!
Describe your academic interests, research, professional interests or expertise.
I am the “bug lady” as my peers and younger kids call me, and I take that as a compliment! I am interested in sustainable agricultural, urban ecology and soil enrichment—all within the context of terrestrial insects as my model system.
When you aren’t teaching, what are you doing in your spare time?
I have three beautiful children, and my husband and I travel all over the world with them. Locally, we seek at out Irish culture in the form of dancing and music. I also love, love, love to cook and eat a variety of cuisines. Finally, nearly every month of the year, I have 1-2 “bug shows” that I give at various Maryland schools for kids aged 3-10. Those shows are a joyous, invigorating experience!
What are three books that you would recommend everyone read?
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Diet for a Small Planet” and the Harry Potter series for a magical escape (especially because the first two are necessarily depressing)!