Undergraduate Teaching

I have a strong interest in developing and implementing innovative teaching approaches that provide students with a solid theoretical framework while critically engaging them in the subject material.  To actively engage students, I often utilize subject material or techniques which have direct relevance to a student’s job prospects, their aspirations for graduate studies or, help the student to answer questions relevant to their interaction with society and the environment.  Activities that provide "hands on" field and laboratory experience are critical to engaging students in learning. Whether it is in my sustainable development course or my water quality class, students learn by doing.  These activities reinforce the theoretical framework of the discipline while providing relevance to the student.

Earth and Environmental Sciences  Earth and Environmental Sciences

Whenever possible, I make an effort to integrate my research and teaching.  This is critical because it serves to incorporate current advances in my discipline into the student’s learning experience.  Integration of research and teaching is most notable in the internships and research experiences that I provide. In many of these instances students actually learn science by doing science at the cutting edge. This is extremely motivating for students because it highlights the element of discovery in science.  Not only do these projects provide personal discovery for the student, but in many instances their research provides important contributions to the discipline.  An example of this is Catherine Kendig whose senior honors thesis I supervised in 2006. She presented her work at an international conference (American Society of Limnology & Oceanography) and won an award for the best undergraduate presentation. Catherine was recruited at the conference and is now in a graduate program at the University of Maryland.

Earth and Environmental Sciences   Earth and Environmental Sciences

Many of my courses and internships also foster the development of critical thinking and communication skills.  Students are often asked to analyze and interpret data sets and make conclusions.  Students then communicate their conclusions in written reports or oral presentations. These exercises are critical because they force students to take an organized, quantitative approach to data analysis and distillation. It also helps students to explore the strengths and limitations of databases and the legitimacy of their conclusions and inferences. This approach forms the central theme for my “Methods in Water Quality Analysis” course.  In a less quantitative way, critical thinking is also fostered in “Sustainable Development: The Costa Rican Experience” where students are challenged to think about sustainable development in the context of a culture, economy, and environment markedly unfamiliar to most Lehigh students.

Earth and Environmental Sciences  Earth and Environmental Sciences

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I am a strong advocate for globalization of the educational experience of Lehigh students (see Getting to Global Lehigh).  Toward this end I have expended a tremendous amount of time and effort ensuring that “Sustainable Development: The Costa Rican Experience” is successful.  This cross-disciplinary course weaves together aspects of economics, political science, environmental studies, and ecology. Our students frequently refer to the course as their “defining Lehigh experience” as it broadens their perspective of “community” and provides them with a global-scale sense of duty and responsibility. I am currently developing a natural science course that takes advantage of the infrastructure that we have developed and cultivated in Costa Rica (Natural History of Costa Rica.

Earth and Environmental Sciences


Below is a listing of courses that I teach on a routine basis.  Consult the Lehigh University course catalog or the EES web page for course descriptions and rotations.

EES-25 The Environment and Living Systems (3).
EES-358 Microbial Ecology (4)
EES-371 Methods in Water Quality Analysis (4)
EES-453 Advnced Microbial Ecology
EES-484 Aquatic Ecosystems

Study Abroad Winter Courses:

EES-42 The Natural History of Costa Rica (3)
ES-122 Sustainable Development: The Costa Rican Experience (3)

Lehigh Study Abroad Office Site

Earth and Environmental Sciences  Earth and Environmental Sciences

Senior honors theses that I have advised:

Kirsten Wert (EES-393, 2006-2007): “Water quality and amphibian species abundance and reproduction at Lehigh Gap Refuge”.

Catherine Kendig (EES-393, 2005-2006): “Effect of lake water chemistry on spectral properties of chromophoric dissolved organic matter: A laboratory study”.

David Franklyn (EES-383, LEO intern 2003): “Nutrient dynamics of soil pore water entering a bog”.

Lora Sterner (EES-383, 2003): “Methods development for measuring organic carbon biolability of the Lehigh River”.

Jeff Santacroce (EES-383, 2002): “Nutrient dynamics of the Lehigh River”.

Cliff Buck (EES-383 2000-2001): “Nutrient dynamics of the Lehigh River”.

Taryn Filo (EES-383 1998-1999):  “Nutrient dynamics of the Lehigh River”.

Jessica Fulton (EES-381, 1994-1995): “Stimulation of bacterial production by UV-induced photooxidation products”.

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Undergraduate internships & research projects that I have advised (non-thesis):

Shanacy Marler (EES-293, 2007)

Danielle Iuliucci (EES-293, 2007)

Alicia Morse (EES-293, laboratory intern, 2007)

Michael Flanagan (EES-293, LEO intern, 2006-2007)

Jenny Lafaro (EES-292 laboratory intern, 2006-2007)

Bridget Mehr (EES-292 laboratory intern, 2006-2007)

James Mikochink (summer intern on my EPA project, 2006)

Pamela Slater (summer intern on my EPA project, 2005)

Brian Babcock (summer intern on my EPA project, 2004)

Adam Kovacs (summer intern on my EPA project, 2004)

Dana Berkowitz (summer intern on my EPA project, 2003)

Andrew Drabick (summer intern on my EPA project, 2003)

Christopher Forstall (summer intern on my EPA project, 2003)

Karen Miranda (summer intern on my EPA project, 2003)

Lisa Nichols (summer intern on my EPA project, 2003)

Amy Shotmeyer (EES-293, LEO intern, 2003)

Eric Bowman (EES-293, 2002)

Paul Marzen (EES-293, 2002)

Eric Rath (EES-293, 2002)

Jon Trenge (EES-293, 2002)

Dani Frisbe (EES-393, 2001)

Laura Guziak (LEO summer intern, 2001)

Joe Oberlander (LEO summer intern, 2001)

Patrick Hollander (EES-283, 2000)

Sarah Lopez (EES-283, 2000)

Kathrine Tran (LEO summer intern, 2000)

Mary Heitzman (EES-283, 1998-1999)

Ed Hubbert (EES-283, 1998-1999)

Erin Sadlowski (EES-283, 1998-1999)

Matt Lawson (EES-283, 1997-1998)

Chris Bakker (EES-383 & summer REU internship, 1997)

Maria Diaz (EES-383, 1997)

Christine Stackpole (EES-383 & summer intern, 1995-1996)

Lori Stonebeck (EES-381 & EES-383, 1995-1996)

Chelsea Walker (EES-381, 1995-1996)

Spero Michailidis (summer intern, 1995)

Adrian Switzer (EES-381, 1995)

Earth and Environmental Sciences