Nebraska/Montana (2011)

Team Nebraska/ Montana had 3 stops on its leg of the Roadshow: University of Nebraska – Kearney , Perkins County High School in Grant, NE and Columbia Falls Junior High School in Columbia Falls, MT.

Here are some pictures from Nebraska and Montana:

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Meet Team Nebraska/Montana

Scott King

Scott is in his 3rd year teaching at Perkins County High School in the rural, southwest Nebraska town of Grant.  His classes include Biology, Anatomy, Health, and Physical Science and is in his second year as assistant coach for the speech team.  Scott earned a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Wyoming in 2004 where he studied Baculovirus Expression Vectors and Glycobiology.  After graduation, he bounced around to various labs before deciding that education was where he wanted to be.  In 2010, Scott earned his Masters of Education as part of Montana State University’s Northern Plains Transition to Teaching program.  Scott is a member of his local volunteer fire department and is currently working on obtaining his EMT license.  In his free time, he enjoys reading, computer programming, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing.  Scott enjoys back country camping with his wife each summer and has hiked in several wilderness areas and national parks in the western United States. Here is a link to his blog called Jujuman Science Institute.

Janet Summerscales

Janet is a 6th grade teacher at Columbia Falls Junior High School in northwest Montana.  She has a background in ecology and environmental education and has been teaching science in the classroom for three years.  When she is not teaching, Janet enjoys the many outdoor benefits of living near Glacier National Park.  Some of her favorite pastimes are hiking, backpacking, river rafting, gardening, and skiing.  She lives on a small acreage with her husband, foster son, two dogs, two horses, nine chickens, and a gecko.

Dawn Simon

Dawn was born and raised in a small town in eastern Iowa and completed both by B.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa.  She then spent four years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary.  Much of Dawn’s career has been spent studying the evolution of introns, but she has broad interests in genome evolution and applied phylogenetics.  SHe is now an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she teaches a variety of courses, including Evolution for undergraduates and graduate level Microbial Diversity and Genome Evolution. A major component of Dawn’s job is supervising undergraduate research projects. “I feel very fortunate that I get to teach what I love and engage with enthusiastic students on a daily basis.”

Craig McClain

Craig McClain is NESCent’s Assistant Director of Science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 30 papers in the area.  He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic.  Craig’s research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary drivers of marine invertebrate biodiversity and body size.  He focuses primarily on deep-sea systems often looking at the consequences of food limitation on biological systems.  He is the author and editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards.  Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science IllustratedAmerican Scientist, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

Gregor Yanega

Gregor Yanega is a postdoctoral fellow at NESCent.  He is a functional morphologist and avian ecologist studying patterns of phenotypic variation and functional diversity in an ecological context.  In some cases this means making natural history observations and identifying the basic physics that underlie how structures are used (e.g., what do birds eat and how do they use their beaks to eat it?).  He also asks: How does variation in organismal traits and their use lead to population differentiation in response to changing environments, and, how do organisms solve common environmental problems?  (How commonis convergence?  Is there more than one way to skin a cat?  How many?)  His NESCent funded work unites these themes and answers the question of how birds and ants respond to life in isolation, whether on islands, mountaintops, or deserts.


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