Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Perhaps you're wondering to yourself: why should I trust any of the things this random internet person says? Where is the proof that this person actually knows what he or she is talking about?

If you're thinking that, then you're already thinking like a scientist. Congratulations! Here, have a cookie:

But seriously, who am I to teach you anything about science?

Answer: In addition to being a science educator, I actually am a scientist.

Am I one of those fancy-shmancy PhD-having scientists? Well, no.

I was in the process of getting a PhD a while ago, and decided that I missed teaching kids far too much to be a research professor for the rest of my life. So I left my program and ran off to work with the public. Probably the best decision I ever made. (To be clear: I have nothing against PhD's or PhD programs - they're awesome. It just wasn't for me.)

Anyway, here's my background, for anyone curious:

  • Worked in a zoo for nearly a decade, taking care of a variety of both domestic and exotic animals
  • College: University of Michigan, BS in Anthropology-Zoology, minor in Paleontology (and it bears mentioning, I took gazillions of non-required science courses in college, such as genetics, physics, and organic chemistry because I am a masochist I enjoy learning as much as I can about the universe)
  • Grad school: Stony Brook University, were I started as a PhD student and Turkana Basin fellow, but ended up leaving with an MA in Physical Anthropology (read: ape paleontology) for reasons stated above
  • Most "important" research work: Functional morphology of the femur of Rhodocetus (ancient whale who still had functional femurs); Identifying morphological (osteological) markers of slow climbing in primates to apply to the fossil record (masters thesis)
  • Field experience: Two summers of paleo digs out in the badlands of Wyoming (searching for early Eocene mammals)
  • Two years as a human anatomy laboratory instructor
  • Now in my third year as an educator at a science institution that shall remain unnamed (as is I believe our institutions policy for online thingy-majigs)
  • Average number of people I now teach per year: 10,000
  • Subjects I teach in schools and at public venues: astronomy, paleontology, geology, chemistry, physics, meteorology, zoology, engineering (see? those college courses did come in handy!)
  • Planetarium presenter and observatory operator for the "mystery" institution I work for (really, it's not too hard to figure out where I work, if you just do a bit of googling)

Phew! That just about covers it, I think. Hopefully now you'll be comfortable with me rambling science factoids at you in future (more interesting) posts. Also, congratulations if you read all the way through all of that.

Have another cookie:

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