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


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

Eron Raines (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

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

Teaching experience

Victoria University of Wellington: 2017-2020

  • Applied Geomorphology (GEOG 319), co-taught with Dr. Bethanna Jackson; a 20 point (~4 credit) undergraduate course, with lecture and lab components
    • new in 2018: Structure-from-motion using a drone on the field trip, and new data incorporated into lab exercises.
  • Geomorphology and its Application (PHYG 418), a seminar-style graduate course, focused on landscape evolution and the interactions between climate, tectonics, and Earth’s surface.
    • new in 2018: a series of lab exercises based in LandLab (python) and Matlab, which introduce students to quantitative methods and writing code.
  • Field Geomorphology (PHYG 423), a graduate-level course centered around a 9-10 day field excursion around the South Island, co-taught with Dr. Kevin Norton and Dr. Shaun Eaves

Colorado College: 2016 and 2011 

  • Geology of the Pike’s Peak Region (GY 135), an introductory-level geology course that included lecture, lab, and field components. Students completed projects on the local stratigraphic column and two field mapping exercises, and spent roughly half the course in the field.

University of Wyoming: 2014

  • Topics in Geology: Writing a Scientific Manuscript (GEOL 5200), a graduate-level course co-taught with Ryan HauptThe primary goal of the course was to have a submission-ready manuscript by the end of the term. Topics covered included writing-related content (structure, language, editing/feedback, etc.) as well as choosing journals, time management and writing habits, and interacting with media.

Courses aided as a teaching assistant

University of Wyoming: 2008-2016

  • Introductory Geology (GEOL 1110) (2 semesters)
  • Water, Dirt, and Climate (ENR/GEOL 1500) (2 semesters)
  • Sedimentation and Stratigraphy (GEOL 2100)
  • Geochemical Cycles and the Earth System (ENR/GEOL 2000)
  • Geology Field Camp (GEOL 4717)
  • Environmental Data Analysis (GEOL/ENR 4525/5525)

Colorado College (Paraprofessional): 2004-2005

  • Geomorphology (GY320)
  • Sedimentation and Stratigraphy (GY305)
  • Oceanography (GY115)
  • Structural Geology (GY315)
  • Physical Geology (GY140) (2 blocks)

Additional teaching experience

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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