Christina Wills, President
Christina Wills is an Associate Biology Professor at Rockhurst University in Kansas City Missouri. At Rockhurst she teaches General Biology I and II, Biology for Non-Majors, Anatomy and Physiology, and the senior capstone course. Her scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) research focuses on democratic science classrooms and service learning. Christina’s other research interests include physiological ecology of invertebrates and urban ecology. She received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 1998. In 2007, Christina earned her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She is an avid Middle Eastern dancer and has performed and taught professionally since 2001. In 2014 she discovered roller derby and was drafted to the Kansas City Roller Warriors as a Black Eye Susan. She has been a member of ACUBE since 2008, has served as the Executive Membership Secretary for Membership from 2012-2015, and is now serving as the ACUBE president.
Greg Smith, Executive Secretary of Finance
Greg Smith is always working to create new ways for his students to learn. A member of the Lakeland's faculty since 2003, Dr. Smith is co-founder of Lakeland Undergraduate Research Experience (LURE), which allows students to work alongside their faculty as peers in conducting primary research. Greg always has students in the program that he pushes to explore new avenues in science. He partnered with fellow biology faculty member Paul Pickhardt to create Lakeland's tropical biology course in Belize, an amazing hands-on opportunity to conduct research in the rainforest. Students find in Greg a supportive mentor who's quick with a smile. Greg also serves as the faculty advisor for the college's chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Paul Pickhardt, Secretary
Paul Pickhardt is an Associate Professor of Biology at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He teaches Ecology, Evolution, Environmental Science, Life Sciences II (Diversity of Life), Tropical Biology, Invertebrate Biology and Parasitology, Botany, Forestry, Scientific Analysis and Writing, and an Environment and Consumption course. Paul’s research program focuses on the ecotoxicology of mercury at the base of aquatic food webs and he’s particularly interested in how sub-lethal concentrations of mercury accumulate, are transferred, and impact primary producers and their invertebrate consumers in freshwater habitats. He has been a member of ACUBE since 2007 and is delighted to be serving on the steering committee from 2011 to 2013. For more about Paul, see his website at http://www.lakeland.edu/Academics/faculty/ pickhardt/research.asp
Jessica Allen, Steering Committee
Jessica Allen is currently a Visiting Instructor at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO. Most of her experience teaching has been in introductory biology for non-majors. She has also taught ecology and environmental science and teaches a 2 week study abroad trip in Nicaragua. Her early interests included animal behavior and she studied the behavior of captive animals both in the lab and various zoos while earning her master’s degree at James Madison University in Virginia. She went on to earn her PhD in Biology at Bowling Green State University studying the conservation and ecology of bat species in fragmented Midwestern oak savanna habitat. Her current interests include delivery and assessment of informal education, and the foraging and roosting ecology of bats in fragmented landscapes.
Aggy Vanderpool, Past-President
Aggy Vanderpool is an Associate Professor of Biology with the Cumberland Mountain Research Center (CMRC) at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. She is an aquatic ecologist and fish physiologist by academic training. At LMU, she teaches upper-level biology and environmental science courses. She also oversees an aquatic resources laboratory at the CMRC where undergraduate students learn basic water chemistry analyses and learn to identify aquatic insects and fish. Her research program in river ecology currently focuses on the Powell River in Virginia and Tennessee. Together with undergradute interns, they conduct river habitat mapping using GIS technology.
Her bachelor’s degree is in Biology from Florida State University in Tallahassee. As an undergraduate student, she studied the habitat preferences of the ghost crab, Ocypode quadrata, and the feeding preferences of land-locked striped bass, Morone saxatilis, in our nearby reservoir, Norris Lake. She received a master’s degree in Zoology from the University of Maine where she studied outmigration patterns in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. Aggy’s doctoral degree is from the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in the area of animal science. She studied potential ways to mitigate stress in rainbow trout, Onchorynchus mykiss, grown in confinement in aquaculture facilities.
She is originally from Hazard, Kentucky and now makes her home on a small farm in Harrogate with my eight-year old daughter, my life partner who is an organic gardener, a frog, a turtle, two goldfish, several beehives, 3.5 dogs and 15 chickens.
Editor of Bioscene
Debbie is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at Cardinal Stritch University. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Marquette University and her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Indiana University where she studied early amphibian development. Her current research focuses on the scholarship of teaching and using case studies to teach science content. She teaches Cell Physiology, Developmental Biology, General Biology and an introductory course on evolution to non-majors. She loves going to movies, anything science fiction, traveling and wine tours.
Conrad Toepfer, Historian
Conrad is an Associate Professor at Brescia University in Owensboro, KY. He is an aquatic ecologist by training but, given Brescia’s size, is expected to cover everything from protists to ecosystems. He has taught nonmajors biology, ecology and evolution (and upper-level versions of both), biological diversity, applied environmental science, conservation biology, marine biology, animal behavior, vertebrate biology, advanced physiology, deep time biology, and statistics. Conrad joined ACUBE around 2000 and has been unsuccessfully avoiding governance duties for the past decade. While he greatly appreciates receiving the 2013 Honorary Life Membership, he will probably contribute another decade’s worth of service before he feels like he earned it.
Laurieann Klockow is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. Laurieann teaches medical microbiology to undergraduates, dental students and physician assistant students as well as courses in infectious diseases and public health to undergraduates. Laurieann received her B.A.in chemistry and french from Washington University- St. Louis and her PhD in biomolecular chemistry from University of Wisconsin-Madison. In graduate school, she was fortunate enough to participate in the HHMI Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching where she developed and taught a 1 credit introductory microbiology class under the mentorship of HHMI Professor, Jo Handelsman. This ignited an interest in microbiology and she pursued a postdoc in a molecular virology lab looking at the role of the accessory proteins, Vpr and Vpx, in HIV’s ability to infect macrophages. Her primary research interests have now turned to the scholarship of teaching and learning and in particular, she is interested in how drawing models improves students’ ability to learn and problem solve. She lives in a suburb outside of Milwaukee with her husband and their three young sons (4 year old twins and a 20 month old). She enjoys traveling to visit her in-laws in Germany, reading, and spending time outdoors. One of these days, she hopes to get back to her pre-kid pastime of whitewater kayaking.
Tara Prestholdt, Website Editor
Tara is an Associate Professor at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon. She teaches courses in Evolution, Animal Behavior, Marine Biology, and Entomology. Her research interests include sexual selection, appendage regeneration, and animal camouflage. She has been a part of ACUBE since 2006 and has served as President, Program Chair, Local Arrangement Host, and as a general member of the Steering Committee. In her free time she enjoys motorcycling, procrastinating housework, and taking long walks on the beach with crabs. https://pilots.up.edu/web/holdt
Rebecca Burton, Executive Secretary of Membership
Rebecca Burton teaches animal behavior, ecology, zoology, environmental science, human anatomy & physiology, science methods, and introductory biology for majors and non-majors at Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI. Her primary interests are in behavioral ecology, but she has also worked in plant restoration ecology, immunology, and neurobiology. Her current research is on how language use influences the effectiveness of college biology textbooks. Becky received her B.S. from The Evergreen State College, her M.A. in zoology from the University of Montana, and her doctorate in ecology from Kansas State University. Her postdoc was at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.
Marlee Marsh, Steering Committee
Marlee Marsh is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at Columbia College (South Carolina). Marlee teaches general biology for majors and non-majors, cell biology, human physiology, histology and immunology. As an undergraduate, she majored in biology at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC where she began her journey as a biologist by researching the fascinating world of fish parasitology. This research led her to graduate school and a comparative immunology lab at Clemson University where she continued to examine fish parasites and how they affect the immune systems of their hosts. Marlee’s current research interests include comparative immunology with a focus on immunoparasitology, comparative histology and hematology. For fun, she enjoys reading, cooking, camping and being active outdoors. Dr. Marsh lives just outside of Columbia, SC with her husband and two young sons.
Jason R. Wiles is a biology professor at Syracuse University. He also has courtesy appointments in the Department of Science Teaching and the Department of Earth Sciences. His research focuses on student understanding of and attitudes toward evolution and climate change, as well as on expanding diversity among students pursuing careers in biology and other STEM disciplines.
Dr. Khadijah (Gigi) Makky is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. Dr. Makky’s work focuses on teaching lecture courses, advising pre-health students, and research.
Dr. Makky teaches advanced human genetics to undergraduate and professional students. She also co-teaches an interdisciplinary class, “Biology, Moral Behavior and Policy,” a unique class that spans multiple disciplines and gives students a broad prospective on moral dilemmas and decision-making practices. These courses employ problem solving teaching techniques designed to help students develop critical thinking skills. Currently, Dr. Makky’s SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) research focuses on the effects of active-based learning on the academic performance of different student populations.
In her advisory role, Dr. Makky counsels pre-health students in the process of exploring further educational or professional opportunities in health and research related fields.
As the director of the Molecular and Cellular Core Research Facility, Dr. Makky coordinates and collaborates with other researchers on various molecular neuroscience projects.