While classroom teaching is the central pillar of my pedagogy, I also enjoy the more informal and free-form exploration fostered by mentoring students. Student-directed projects that I can provide insight on are in many ways more inspiring than any course I might contrive.
I have mentored students in a variety of ways. Some have taken independent studies with me, while others have asked me to provide advice when it became clear that they needed an ecological and/or evolutionary perspective on a project. I am also proud to be the faculty adviser to Pratt Envirolutions, a student-run club dedicated to environmental activism.
Below are some of the students who I have mentored:
Mishele graduated from the Master of Fine Arts program in December of 2012. During the 2010-2011 school year, I mentored her in exploring the human genomics revolution and its meaning in relation to questions about human diversity. Her final thesis project Genoscapes used abstractions of concept maps to explore the meaning of human genetics.
Molly graduated from the Critical and Visual Studies program in May of 2012. Along with Adjunct Assistant Professor Peter Nekola, I advised Molly as she completed her senior thesis. Her thesis, “Communicating Interdependence: Ecological Thinking and the Natural History Museum“, explored how natural history museums use exhibits to portray ecological interconnectedness. I am really proud of how her work combined a strong understanding of both environmental ethics and ecological science with a keen analysis of museum design to assess the ways in which exhibits can better educate their visitors about our shared connection to nature. Molly now works as an educator and naturalist at the South Fork Natural History Museum on Long Island.
Sean Gordon & Nick Foley
Sean and Nick — both now alumni of the Industrial Design program (2011) — were interested in using algae to produce biofuels, so they spent a semester with me designing and constructing a system for growing algae in large plexiglass tubes. They never quite got to the point of isolating any source of fuel, but we all learned a bit about growing algae.
Kamdyn graduated in 2010 with a master’s degree from the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, Urban Environmental Systems Management program. I served as an advisor to her thesis project, the Campus Area Biking Living Lab Project [1, 2]; I provided guidance to Kamdyn in considering the ecological dimensions of her project (as well as a little bicycle enthusiasm).