Ph.D., Duke University
M.S., North Carolina State University
Download Erin’s philosophy here.
I cultivate critical thinking through active learning. Students are not limited by access to content; I focus, instead, on practicing current techniques to collect and analyze novel datasets. By designing my courses around authentic research experiences, I encourage student autonomy and foster practicing scientists. Across my courses, I implement inclusive teaching approaches rooted in SOTL research. I aim to dispel the various stereotype threats surrounding (and amplified by) the “ivory tower” and to empower students (including the general public) with scientific understanding, toward science literacy and belonging. My “broader impacts and outreach” include scholarly efforts to build reciprocal, collaborative, long-lasting partnerships with students as well as the public.
In addition to education, I study how microbial communities form over time and how they adapt to their environments. My research incorporates microbial ecology, nutrition, and comparative gut morphology to learn how gut microbes affect health – and how humans can leverage or upset that balance. For over a decade I have investigated evolutionary adaptation across scales and species, between non-human primates and carnivores and their gut microbes. More recently, I’ve expanded my research to sourdough and other fermented foods that can be studied without laboratory equipment, using citizen science research to empower students of all ages and all over the world.
- Applied Ecology (2023)
- Effect of fecal preservation method on captive southern white rhinoceros gut microbiome, WILDLIFE SOCIETY BULLETIN (2023)
- Effects of age, seasonality, and reproductive status on the gut microbiome of Southern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) at the North Carolina zoo, ANIMAL MICROBIOME (2023)
- Hidden diversity: comparative functional morphology of humans and other species, PEERJ (2023)
- The Human Gut Microbiome (2023)
- A gut microbiome tactile teaching tool and guided-inquiry activity promotes student learning, FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY (2022)
- Correlating gut microbial membership to brown bear health metrics, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS (2022)
- Intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence on an omnivore's gut microbiome, PLOS ONE (2022)
- Mink (Neovison vison) fecal microbiomes are influenced by sex, temperature, and time postdefecation, JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY (2022)
- The gut microbiome of wild American marten in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, PLOS ONE (2022)