Biography

Earned and Honorary Degrees

PhD University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
MS Colorado State University, Fort Collins
MA Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Background

The Apostle Islands had an early and significant influence on my research interests, career, and moral views. In high school I was lucky enough to attend a two-week geology and biology field course at Madeline Island that has expanded and is now directed by one of my former students. This course shaped my view of the relationships between outdoor education, science, nature, and society. Of course I also fell completely in love with the Lake and northern Wisconsin.

Research

My research expertise covers aquatic invertebrate taxonomy and ecology, paleoecology, and limnology. I specialize in underwater (SCUBA) study design and implementation. My studies of philosophy of science focus on multi-scalar complexity in the relationship between taxonomy and ecology, causality in complex ecological or biological systems, and the tensions that ecological science creates for traditional moral reasoning. I codirect an award winning program founded by Ben Thwaits of Northwest Passage called In a New Light: Under the Surface. This program integrates underwater exploration, student driven inquiry, and nature photography as a tool for healing teens who are overcoming severe mental or social problems. Check us out.

Why Northland?

Northland offers a unique platform for my work. At this College, arts and sciences are part of a whole human experience where my research into how natural systems are fundamental to human mental health is as welcome as more traditional projects like food web ecology.

Courses

I am teaching science and philosophy primarily through collaboration with Northwest Passage. My current focus on research and outreach allows me to mentor students at Northland but I do not teach regular classes at this time.

Student Involvement

My research has provided me the opportunity to support student interns at Northland- and I think it is the responsibility of every research project to support the next generation of scientists. Some of my previous mentees have become Rhodes Scholars, accepted to the Peace Corps, and successfully entered PhD programs of their choice. These results are probably because my work attracts highly motivated people- but I'd like to think my experience and support helped foster success!

Personal Interests

Water related activities are the focus of my work and play. I enjoy swimming, triathlon, fishing, surfing, hunting, paddle board, canoe, and of course SCUBA. I also enjoy bicycle touring (on and off road) and trail running. The rest of my free time is dedicated to theoretical and applied zymurgy.