RE3ACH Lab Principal Investigator
Lisa A Corwin, Assistant Professor
I am the Principle Investigator for the RE3ACH lab. I am a biology education researcher interested in how biology students develop into resilient, creative, and competent scientific researchers in ecology and evolutionary biology and STEM more broadly. My primary research interests span three central themes. 1) I am interested in how biology students cope with the challenges and failures they encounter during undergraduate research experiences and how they develop their ability to respond productively to these challenges and failures to persist in their scientific endeavors. 2) I am interested in how biology students develop as creative problem solvers in biology and specifically how engaging them in the process of iterative design, whether it be design of an experiment, a potential new product, or a land management plan, can help them to develop knowledge and skills associated with creativity, such as divergent thinking, idea generation, and deeper understanding of the links between form and function. 3) Finally, I am interested in how involving students in place-based culturally relevant research experiences influences their likelihood to engage and persist in biology - and specifically ecology - endeavors. These research themes stem from my long-time interest in how society address broad ecological and environmental problems, such as climate change, and how we, as a society, will need to foster a new generation of resilient, creative, and passionate scientists if we are to tackle these broad and complicated issues.
Before coming to CU Boulder, I spent time at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill as the Transfer Student Coordinator and completed postdoctoral training investigating Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences with Dr. Erin Dolan at the University of Georgia and the Univeresity of Texas at Austin. My disciplinary training is in Plant Ecophysiology from UC Davis. I consider myself a boundary crosser and strive to bring knolwedge from the learning sciences and education fields to the disciplines that I am most passionate about - ecology, evolution, and environmental science.
RE3ACH Lab Postdoctoral Scholars
Meredith Henry, Postdoctoral Researcher
My life story begins when my parents met in prison. Don’t worry though: they both worked there! My father was a warden for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and, because of his job, I’ve always had a unique perspective on human behavior. My desire to understand people led me to study psychology. During my Ph.D. education, I also had several wonderful opportunities to teach undergraduates, and I discovered a true passion for finding ways to improve higher education. In fact, I found myself looking for an opportunity to shift into conducting educational research full time, which is what led me to the RE3ACH lab. As one of Lisa's postdocs, I'm a part of FLAMEnet—the Factor influence Learning, Attitudes, and Mindsets in Education network. As a group, we bring together STEM instructors, psychologists, and education researchers from diverse institutions to investigate the noncognitive factors (those things not related to intelligence or the content itself) that improve instructor and student outcomes in undergraduate education. I am particular interested in how college STEM students define “success” and “failure” in academic contexts and in how their responses to challenges and failures influences their academic outcomes. You can learn more about this and other research projects on my personal website here. In my free time, I pursue a wide range of geeky interests. I love Jane Austen, sci-fi/fantasy, board games, and I play handbells. My favorite obsession hobby is rounding up my wonderful friends to play escape rooms. (My record for escapes is currently 28-4!)
Miranda Chen-Musgrove, Postdoctoral Researcher
I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, where I earned my B.Sc. with Honors in Biology, minoring in Environmental Studies at York University. At the end of my undergrad, considering a career as a conservation manager of some sort, I sought out my M.Sc. with Dr. Sapna Sharma, examining the impacts of projected climate change on the distributions of cisco, an important forage prey fish. Though becoming an ecological modeler was a lot of fun, I found my passion for education research, mentoring, and working with teachers and students. Two weeks after defending my M.Sc., I packed up and moved south to work on my doctorate with Dr. Beth Schussler in science education research, investigating what contributes to teaching and research anxiety in Biology Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). Currently, I work as a postdoctoral research associate with Dr. Lisa Corwin at the University of Colorado, Boulder, examining how the formation of biology interests and critical experiences impact the persistence of biology undergraduate students in STEM careers. Outside of work, you can find me volunteering with my local Catholic Church, playing a new board game with my beloved husband, or nesting at home in preparation for our firstborn son.
RE3ACH Lab Graduate Students
Irfanul (Irfan) Alam, PhD student
At the onset of my academic career, my goal was to become a plant biologist. However, after working as a teaching assistant, I realized I wanted to improve student-centered learning. My experiences thus far have led me to pursue a career in teaching botany while implementing pedagogical changes to improve students’ competency in biology. As a botanically oriented educator, I aim to find ways to make students appreciate plants more and inspire them to pursue careers in plant biology. Currently I am investiagting the impact of community engaged CUREs on student's scientific community engagment. My goal is to retain more students in STEM (particularly students from under-served groups), strengthen community engagement, and build community-institution relationships. I have taught and designed my own CURE as part of the Boulder Apple Tree Project investigating the effect of alpine climate change on the phenology of Malus domestica sp. Besides research, I love to cook, garden, travel and socialize with my international community.
Amy-Dunbar Wallis, PhD student
Since completing a B.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, I have had the pleasure of working as research assistant with many exciting plant science labs across the country. This work has allowed me to explore mycorrhizal structures in loblolly pine, breeding system studies in native Hawaiian flora, and flower color evolution with fantastic scientists and educators. More recently, I have worked with the Boulder Apple Tree Project as a project coordinator. In this capacity I have been able to work with students, researchers, and community members towards a goal of mapping and measuring the apple trees of Boulder County and beyond. Through this project I have had the opportunity to work with community college students in a bridge program that seeks to ease their transition to a four-year university with novel research experiences and professional development. My research interests include expanding course based undergraduate research experiences into community college classrooms, engaging those students with community members through long-term studies of local trees, and professional development for community college professors to encourage research in their institutions. Outside of the lab I can be found running, being a marching band and comic-con mom for my two boys, and baking.
RE3ACH Lab undergraduate students
Alyssa Cooley, EBIO
I am an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I am a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I am excited to begin my research experience assisting Miranda Chen Musgrove in the summer of 2019. Together, we have investigated teaching and research anxiety, self-efficacy, and coping in Biology Graduate Teaching Assistants. After I graduate from the University of Tennessee, I hope to attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology.
Eliza Lynn Fink, EBIO
I am an undergraduate student working with the Boulder Apple Tree Project. I study environmental engineering and I am interested in just about anything outside (gardening, ecology, backpacking, etc…). As an engineering student, I am frequently taught how science and technology can help solve the complex social and environmental problems facing the world today. However, my experiences volunteering with Engineers Without Borders and researching rural water systems with the USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership have taught me that an interdisciplinary approach is essential for engineering to have a truly positive impact. This belief that science needs to be integrated with education, creativity, and history led me to find the Boulder Apple Tree Project. In my work with Boulder Apple Tree Project I hope to explore the environmental history of Boulder through the lens of apples. I have always been fascinated by the ways that humans and the places they live continually shape one another and I believe that in this respect, the apples in the City of Boulder have a unique story to tell.
Savannah Neid, EBIO
I am a junior studying Integrative Physiology and Spanish at CU Boulder. I am currently working with Miranda on qualitative analyzing data from the Passion Project and CC Bio INSITES. I was drawn to the REACH lab by an interest in the relationship between healthcare and academic success; this is a topic I hope to do my own research on in the future. When I’m not in class or working on research, I spend my time doing pretty much every outdoor activity you can think of (skiing, running, backpacking, surfing, biking, SUPing and more!)
Elizabeth Woolner, EBIO
I'm a senior at CU Boulder studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. My first project with REACH Lab was coding and analyzing student survey responses about failure in an undergraduate Course Undergraduate Research Experience (or CURE). Currently, I'm working on an honors thesis identifying the methods, challenges, and outcomes of modern entomology education in a systematic literature review. As far as the future, I'm looking into a career in environmental policy and/or conservation biology after graduation in Fall 2020. In my free time, I like to rock climb, watch live theatre, knit, and read.
RE3ACH Lab Alumni
Ashley Rowland, Postdoctoral Researcher
With a background in molecular cell biology and biology education research, I am particularly interested in promoting evidence-based educational strategies that help students persist in their STEM studies and careers. As a first-generation college student from a low-income household, I hope to make education more inclusive and equitable. My ultimate goal is for my life’s work to contribute to the creation of a more knowledgeable, thoughtful, and diverse population of students that can move our society toward a better future. Currently, I am the Director of Content for Codon Learning, an education technology startup. We are developing a STEM courseware platform that aims to scale inclusive, evidence-based teaching practices. In this role I apply what I have learned from my personal experiences and my studies of biology and education to ensure that research-backed approaches, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of the platform we design and content we create.
More about me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-rowland/
Erin Fried, Graduate Student
With a background in environmental social science and communication, I am passionate about local practices and teaching that inspires collaborative environmental action and connects diverse stakeholders at individual, local and regional scales. I have had 3+ years of experience in environmental science and biology education data management, where I conducted and converted qualitative interviews and open responses into quantitative measures and analysis. I have had 10 years of communication, outreach and teaching in environmental science, ecology and the arts, spanning ages 2 to 70 years old. Currently I an Environmental Social Science Consultant at the Nature Conservancy, an Adjunct Faculty at CU for the Learning Assistant Program, and the Research and Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Sustainable Landscapes and Communities out of CU Boulder.