Being a guest scientist is weird, but fun

I was recently invited to serve as a guest scientist for ISB202 (Applied Environmental and Organismal Biology), a nonmajors class teaching the basics of science.

The modules of this course are set up so that students learn to think and speak like scientists, and to develop critical thinking and logical skills to analyze the validity of information and arguments. For their last section, the students watched my recent TEDxMSU talk on my work, and posed several questions. I read through them, and here was the basic overview of the categories of the questions asked:

1. How does this relate to humans?

2. How do other animals have sex?

3. Is it always the female who chooses, and how do they do it?

4. How does homosexuality fit into all of this?

5. How did you get your data? (specifics)

6. How can I learn more?

So, this week I was asked to respond to students in a filmed chat with the course instructor (and friend) Dr. Stephen Thomas. This was hopefully able to show that scientists are real people and talk about their work in different terms in everyday speech and with the public than the language used in publications and formal presentations. We talk about the above and some other important things, like evo misconceptions and what I do when not ‘sciencing’.

Check it out. Cringe with me. Laugh with me. And most of all, share resources that the students can use that I can pass along to them!


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