For most of us, the best way to learn science is to do science. I incorporate real data and hands-on lab and field experiences into my courses at every level, and teach on river banks and outcrops whenever I can. I hope that every one of my students, whether or not they go on to pursue a science field, finish my courses with working knowledge of the scientific process and a deeper understanding of the physical world around them.


Student Lisa Dowling presents on the Birch Hill moraines near Mt. Cook/Aoraki


Current students:

Eron Raines

Eron examines a soil pit

Eron examines a soil pit

(VUW and U. Wollongong, PhD expected 2021; co-supervised with K. Norton, A. Dosetto, and J. DeSlippe):  “An ecology of chemical weathering” – biologic controls on weathering and soil production in NZ 

Dina Fieman

(VUW, PhD expected 2022; co-supervised with J. Howarth and K. Norton): Quantifying the post-seismic sediment cascade and its impact on river dynamics

Former students:

Maia Bellingham (VUW, MSc 2020; primary supervisor):  Spatial patterns in erosion rates across a climate transect in the Southern Alps using cosmogenic nuclides 

Undergraduates: Marlie Malone (BS, U. Wyoming); field and lab techs Evan Soderburg, Jeffrey Frey (U. Wyoming); GEOG 325 Weathering team (VUW)

Teaching experience

UC Merced: 2021-present

In the 2021-2022 academic year, I will teach:

  • Fundamentals of Geology (ESS020)
  • Geomorphology and Surface Processes (ESS120)

Victoria University of Wellington: 2017-2020

  • Applied Geomorphology (GEOG 319), co-taught with Dr. Bethanna Jackson
  • Geomorphology and its Application (PHYG 418)
  • Field Geomorphology (PHYG 423), co-taught with Dr. Kevin Norton and Dr. Shaun Eaves

Colorado College: 2016 and 2011 

  • Geology of the Pike’s Peak Region (GY 135)

University of Wyoming: 2014

  • Topics in Geology: Writing a Scientific Manuscript (GEOL 5200),

Additional teaching experience

As a graduate student at U. Wyoming and as a Paraprofessional at Colorado College, I served as a teaching assistant for a wide range of courses, from Field Camp to Sedimentation and Stratigraphy to introductory-level Environmental Science courses. This teaching experience included curriculum development, guest lectures, and teaching in labs and field settings.

From 2005 to 2008, I was an instructor at the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. I developed and taught lessons in a broad range of science topics, from Forest Ecology and Geology to local mushrooms, amphibians, and stream invertebrates. I worked with school groups from 2nd grade through high school, weekend workshops for adults and families, and summer backpacking trips for teens.

Find out more about Opal Creek here. They’re a fantastic organization! *Update: The Opal Creek wilderness burned in the wildfires of 2020, and the historic town of Jawbone Flats (the heart of OCAFC) was largely destroyed. They’re finding a way forward, with the support of a lot of wonderful people. If you’d like to be one of those people, click on the link above to find their donations page.

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