My abiding passions are plant science, particularly plant science education, and supporting plant scientists as they navigate their complicated and challenging career paths.
I pursued a traditional academic path (BS in Biochemistry at Berkeley, PhD in Plant Molecular Biology at Rockefeller, Postdoc in Plant Science at Berkeley); my research focused on transcriptional regulation, root development and phosphoinositide signaling.
I spent 14 years at a primarily undergraduate liberal arts college (Harvey Mudd College), rising to the rank of Full Professor. During that time I became involved with the American Society of Plant Biologists, a professional society that supports plant scientists. Here’s an interview from 2004.
After reaching the peak of the academic mountain, I decided to climb another.
I decided that the best way for me to support plant science education was to step out of the classroom and start helping others to teach more effectively, and to help create an online, international, collaborative community of educators who can share and learn from each other. Towards that end, in 2009 I accepted the position of Features Editor of Teaching Tools in Plant Biology, published by The Plant Cell.
In 2017, ASPB launched a community portal, Plantae.org, to help plant scientists connect with each other, share resources, and provide opportunities for early-career scientists. I have been a Planae Community Manager, a role through which I facilitate the exchange of ideas, resources and tips.
I also am very active on social media and Tweet as @PlantTeaching.
My most recent exciting project is serving as Principal Investigator of a large National Science Foundation grant called Rooting Out Oppression Together and SHaring Our Outcomes Transparently (ROOT&SHOOT), which launched in 2021. I’m excited to embark on this journey of personal growth and cultural change within the plant science community.
I decided to start this blog largely as a place to reflect on and record my growth and experiences as PI and participant in this exciting, transformative project. And, to gather some of my favorite bits and pieces from around the internet into one home.
I have three children (one a teacher and dad living in Japan, one with an MSc in exercise physiology who is currently working in a Covid testing lab, and one studying to be a scientist). I am always happy to share my thoughts on surviving parenting while careering….
My husband is an artist who donates a lot of images to Teaching Tools and other plant science education efforts.
I have traveled and lived all over the world but chose to settle down in the nicest place of all, Western Scotland.
Here‘s a summary of what Teaching Tools accomplished and thoughts about global commuity-building.
Here‘s an interview where I share my thoughts on teaching
Here‘s a profile where I talk about using classic texts for teaching (Biodiversity Heritage Library)
Here‘s a bit more about the ROOT&SHOOT grant.