As a postdoc, I was Co-PI and Project Manager for an NSF funded GK-12 program (Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education) at Kellogg Biological Station (our amazing group of teachers and Fellows are pictured above). My work with K-12 students and teachers in Michigan made me passionate about outreach and about training scientists to communicate with broad audiences. In my own lab at DU, we are continuing our work with the K-12 community by bringing our science to middle school and high school classrooms in the Denver area. For instance, virtual lab visits bring >180 students in a single day into our lab for an all day look at behavioral ecology research. Check out this quick video, highlighting how these experiences have impacted local students: http://youtu.be/xtlFoI9GCQo. We're also delighted to co-coordinate DUSciTech, a free week-long STEM Summer Camp for underrepresented middle school girls. Read more about this new program here: news.du.edu/science-and-fun.
When we work with students and teachers, we focus on using our own work to dispel misconceptions about how evolution works. For instance, our work on the consequences of changed ecology for the loss of throat coloration in sticklebacks emphasizes the idea that evolution is NOT goal-oriented and reaching ever-higher "up the evolutionary ladder". Instead, the loss of traits, can be strongly favored by selection. Our focus on rapid evolutionary change also makes the point that evolution does not always take millions of years - we can observe evolutionary changes, even changes in reproductive isolation, within our own lifetimes in natural populations!
Email Robin if you're interested in learning more or in having us come to your school.