Miami University Instructors

Project Dragonfly Directors

Chris Myers

Chris Myers

Co-Founder and Director, Project Dragonfly/Earth Expeditions

Chris Myers received his Ph.D. in ecology from Vanderbilt University and is now a professor of Zoology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University. His research areas include community-based conservation, participatory science, and national education reform. Chris is the founding Director of Project Dragonfly and served as Editor-in-Chief of Dragonfly magazine--the first national magazine to feature the investigations of children. Project Dragonfly has reached millions of children through award-winning print media, teacher programs, and the Emmy-Award winning national PBS children’s television series, DragonflyTV. He has written more than 60 professional articles and has directed projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Organization for Tropical Studies, and other agencies. Chris directs Earth Expeditions and the Global Field Program, served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, and taught environmental education at Yale University.

Lynne Born Myers

Lynne Born Myers

Co-Founder and Co-Director, Project Dragonfly

Lynne Myers received her B. Phil. from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University.  As a founder and co-Director of Project Dragonfly, she oversees national exhibits, participatory media, and learning programs. She served as the founding editor for Dragonfly magazine and now leads the development of national exhibits for Wild Research and Saving Species. These two NSF-funded projects are designed to engage millions of families at zoos, aquariums, and other public learning institutions throughout the U.S. Lynne also writes fiction and nonfiction books for children with her husband, Chris, including McCrephy's Field (Houghton Mifflin), Forest of the Clouded Leopard (Houghton Mifflin), and Galapagos: Islands of Change (Hyperion).  She has developed conservation partnerships in many countries for Earth Expeditions, and works on a variety of research and education projects addressing human relationships with nature.

Instructors

Lori Anderson

Lori Anderson

Instructor

Lori Anderson is a professor of biology at a community college in Central Minnesota. She currently teaches General Biology I and II, Microbiology, Environmental Science and Human Biology. Lori earned a M.S in Biology from Minnesota State University – Mankato and a M.S. in Adult Education from Capella University. She is currently ABD in her Ph.D. in Post-Secondary and Adult Education from Capella University. Her master’s research focused on allopolyploidy in Packera paupercula populations in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  For a number of years Lori has volunteered as a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener and as a Minnesota Tree Care Advisor for her county. Her passions include conservation, restoration and education. She loves exploring Minnesota’s many state parks, water-ways and forests. She also enjoys camping, kayaking, yoga, gardening and spending time with her husband, three children and numerous pets on her farm. She travels to other states and countries as often as possible to expand her family’s world view and to learn how other communities conserve and protect their natural resources. Her most recent travels included teaching an 8-week environmental science course in Costa Rica as part of her sabbatical.

Laura Avila-Segura

Laura Avila-Segura

Visiting Assistant Professor

Laura Avila is passionate about tropical agroecology and conservation. She is completing her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida where she studied foraging ecology of stingless bees in agricultural coffee landscapes. She has a master's degree in interdisciplinary ecology and a concentration in tropical conservation and development from the same institution, where she researched the use of cover crops for nitrogen replacement in crop production. Her undergraduate degree in tropical agriculture was completed at EARTH University in Costa Rica, where she developed a passion for hands-on and multicultural learning environments. She has taught at the undergraduate level at the University of Florida and the University of Cincinnati - Blue Ash. Research and field courses have taken her to several continents, but she never thought she will be living her biggest adventure as a mom of a preschooler in Cincinnati, Ohio. Laura is happiest when trekking through the rural mountain landscapes of her native Costa Rica.  

Amanda Bentley Brymer

Amanda Bentley Brymer

Visiting Assistant Professor

Amanda Bentley Brymer earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Science through the National Science Foundation IGERT Project at the University of Idaho. She received her M.S. in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences and her B.A. in Communication from Texas A&M University. Her interdisciplinary research integrates ecosystem services and social process concepts to understand how environmental change influences human well-being. Specifically, Amanda functioned as the lead facilitator for the social-ecological impact assessment conducted by her doctoral research team in coordination with the Bureau of Land Management in Owyhee County, Idaho. Her disciplinary research interests involve democratic processes and decision-making for public lands and natural resource management. Prior to academia, Amanda was a professional tour director for Collette Vacations, and enjoyed sharing the cultural and natural history of Europe while guiding guests through the British Isles and Swiss Alps. At home in Oxford, Amanda volunteers with the Miami University Natural Areas as Curator for the Silvoor Biological Sanctuary. She also enjoys hiking, birding, gardening, and reading with her husband Rhett, son Luke, canine companion Dekoda, and feline companions Puddin and Sakura.

Jamie Bercaw Anzano

Jamie Bercaw Anzano

Director of Communications and Research

Jamie Bercaw Anzano has a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University in journalism, a master's in environmental science with concentrations in environmental education and public policy from Miami's Institute of Environmental Sciences, and post-master’s work in pursuit of a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Miami.  Through her role with Project Dragonfly at Miami University, she instructs international and web-based graduate courses and serves as a graduate advisor. When Dragonfly began more than 17 years ago, Jamie served as an editor for Dragonfly children's magazine. She has since worked on a number of Dragonfly initiatives to implement inquiry-driven reform in formal and informal learning environments. Prior to her work at Dragonfly, Jamie wrote hundreds of articles as a newspaper reporter and magazine writer.  Her interests lie within the intersection of theory and practice and in helping educators and other professionals explore ways to use inquiry to improve human and ecological communities. Jamie has explored many countries throughout the world, but she particularly enjoys rediscovering her backyard with her husband and two sons.

Robyn Charlton

Robyn Charlton

Instructor

Robyn Charlton is a science and conservation education leader with degrees from Wright State University in elementary education and advanced teaching practices. Though trained in formal education, Robyn’s career has been balanced between time spent teaching in K-12 classrooms and time working with those same audiences in informal education in zoos and aquariums across the country. Robyn started her career as a seventh grade science teacher in Lebanon, Ohio and eleven years later was the Assistant Director of Education for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) headquartered at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, directing activities across WCS's five NYC-based zoos and aquarium as well as projects across several international landscapes and seascapes. After moving back home to Southwest Ohio, Robyn became the Coordinator of Online Faculty for Miami University's Regional E-Learning Initiatives. Through this position, Robyn serves as a facilitator and consultant to online faculty interested in further developing their pedagogical content knowledge as well as a promoter of scholarship in E-Learning at Miami and a catalyst for cultivating community and increased engagement among online faculty teaching through Miami University Regionals. Robyn’s interest in leadership is driven by desire to serve her communities as an agent of change, exploring new knowledge and ways of doing things, asking thoughtful questions and tackling complex problems with creative solutions.

Claire Dell

Claire Dell

Visiting Assistant Professor

Claire Dell obtained her Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from Georgia Tech and her Master’s in Aquatic Bioscience from Glasgow University in Scotland. Her dissertation research focused on how species acclimate to conditions in healthy and degraded coral reefs, which involved substantial field work in Fiji. Prior to this she spent several years working on the coral reefs in the Caribbean. Teaching and helping others understand and appreciate this ecosystem are passions of hers. She also enjoys swimming and diving!

Maureen Drinkard

Maureen Drinkard

Instructor

Maureen Drinkard is better known her students as Dr. Mo, an assistant professor of environmental science and ecology and Brevard College near Asheville, North Carolina.  She fell in love with wetland ecology through a senior research project as an undergrad and followed that path through graduate school. Her dissertation focused on wetland ecology and wetland organisms in headwater riparian systems. She tirelessly braved swamps across northeastern Ohio investigating the impacts of flood pulsing on wetland communities while simultaneously testing these ideas in wetland mesocosm on the campus of Kent State University.  Dr. Mo quickly realized that her true passion was inspiring students in the fields of ecology, environmental science, and sustainability through experiential teaching methods. She teaches a variety of hands-on courses in these fields and classes in entomology, geographic information systems, and policy.  Her broad range of academic interests also translates into broad personal interests. When she isn’t off in the woods with college students or wrangling her own family, Dr. Mo can be found gardening, canning, and fermenting foods, brewing beer, wine and ginger beer, making art and jewelry, hiking and camping, and investigating natural building techniques and permaculture strategies.

Robin Hirshorn

Robin Hirshorn

Instructor

Robin Hirshorn is a conservation biologist and science educator, and her interests are at the interface of conservation biology, behavior, ecology, and science education. She received her Ph.D. in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University in 2011, and her doctoral research focused on the foraging ecology of dusky dolphins. This research resulted in insights about underwater behaviors, and she made an educational research-based video that was on exhibit at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She currently teaches courses that focus on ecology, biodiversity, evolution, and environmental science at Montgomery College and Howard Community College in Maryland. While teaching, she works to incorporate inquiry-based activities into courses and to connect students more closely with nature. She lives in Mount Airy, Maryland with her husband, four cats, and a diversity of native plants and ancient oak trees, and she is looking forward to facilitating community-level solutions through Project Dragonfly.

Kristen Keteles

Kristen Keteles

Instructor

Kristen Keteles received a Ph.D. in biological sciences (zoology) from Louisiana State University and a B.S. in marine science from Coastal Carolina University. Kristen is a toxicologist in the EPA Region 8 Office of Ecosystems Protection and Remediation in Denver, Colorado. She came to the EPA from the National Park Service (NPS) where she was a contaminants specialist, coordinating natural resource condition assessments at coastal National Parks, and prior to that she was faculty in the Biology Department at the University of Central Arkansas. At the EPA she conducts human health and ecological risk assessments and serves as a technical expert on adverse effects from exposure to pesticides and toxics. Even though she works for the government, she remains active in academia through adjunct appointments. In addition to teaching at Miami University through Project Dragonfly, she also serves on graduate committees at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Denver and teaches online biology classes at Colorado Christian University. Her research entails the investigation of the use of genomic and metabolic markers for detecting exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in aquatic life. In her spare time, she enjoys mountain biking, backcountry telemark skiing, and whitewater stand up paddle boarding.

Kathayoon Khalil

Kathayoon Khalil

Instructor

Kathayoon Khalil is a social scientist and conservationist living in Seattle, Washington. Kathayoon received her Ph.D. in environmental education from Stanford University, studying social networks in zoo and aquarium education. She received her Master's in Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry and her Bachelor's in Organismal Biology from Claremont McKenna College. Kathayoon is currently the Principal Evaluator at the Seattle Aquarium and serves as an advisor to the the Research and Technology and Conservation Education Committees of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Kathayoon is a member of Class 6 of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program and an award-winning educator in design thinking. Throughout her involvement in Project Dragonfly, Kathayoon has taught several courses including Earth Expeditions courses in Costa Rica and Baja.  Kathayoon enjoys yoga, crafting, travel, and playing music. She does not enjoy running but does it anyway.

Shafkat Khan

Shafkat Khan

Visiting Assistant Professor

Shafkat Khan received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology in August 2016. Shafkat completed his B.A. in environmental studies at Goshen College in Indiana. Shafkat’s ecological interest lies at the intersection of anthropogenic factors and plant communities. For his dissertation, Shafkat examined whether tropical montane tree species are able to persist in conditions dissimilar to the species’ native range currently. This work addresses questions both theoretical and applied: what factors limit species distributions and how will climate change cause changes in species distributions in near future. Besides his focal research, Shafkat is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to examining conservation and sustainability, especially from anthropological and geographical perspectives. Shafkat is passionate about student mentoring and teaching, and he considers working with Project Dragonfly a privilege. A native of Bangladesh, Shafkat comes to work at Miami University, Ohio by way of de-glaciated northern Indiana, the Piedmont of Georgia, and the southern mountains of Costa Rica.

Alicia Lamfers

Alicia Lamfers

Instructor

Alicia Lamfers received her MAT from Miami University and her undergraduate degree in biology from Metropolitan State University in Denver. She worked as a paramedic for 6 years in Denver's inner city neighborhoods until switching direction and going into education. She has taught in both formal and informal classrooms. She has experience in conservation education, creating programming for middle and high school students, teachers, and other informal groups. She is interested in developing more and better ways to use inquiry to connect kids to nature and engaging underserved audiences in environmental education. Outside of work, Alicia lives with her husband and two kids and breaks up the chaos with camping trips, hiking, reading and small chunks of quiet time.

Genifer Lara

Genifer Lara

Instructor

Genifer Lara currently teaches geology and geography at Mohave Community College in Kingman, Arizona. For the past several years, she has been a field instructor for Round River Conservation Studies, a study abroad program for undergraduates majoring in life and environmental sciences from the U.S. and Africa. During her time with RRCS, she worked in Botswana and Namibia, and spent semesters living in primitive field camps, falling asleep to the sounds of lions, hippos, and hyenas. She has also traveled extensively for work, studying a variety of species in diverse locations such as, the beach in Uruguay, the harsh Impenetrable Forest of Argentina, the tropical rain forests of Honduras and Costa Rica, and the savannas of Malawi. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Wildlife Biology from Prescott College in 2008, her M.S. in Geosciences from Mississippi State University in 2011, and is currently finishing up a second M.S. in Entomology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She also has a certificate in Aquarium Science and is a current Wilderness First Responder. She loves teaching and inspiring others to get out and be a part of nature. She has a passion for bats, reptiles, birds, and insects, among most other animals. In her spare time she enjoys birding, herping, photography, travelling, and spending time with her husband and their furkids.

Javier Miguelena

Javier Miquelena

Visiting Assistant Professor

Javier Miguelena has a B.S. in biology from the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico. He also holds a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Arizona. Javier’s research has looked at the effects of human-induced habitat change on ant communities. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he considered the impact of urbanization on ant diversity in the arid urban environment of Tucson, Arizona. In particular, he looked at irrigated parks which are a new and extraneous habitat in that environment. He has also done research on the behavior of the exotic dark rover ant and the pest management of termites. While in Arizona, Javier was part of science outreach efforts with the Urban Entomology Laboratory, the Arizona Insect Festival, and the Insect Discovery Program. As a result, he has spoken about insects and science to audiences of all ages, frequently while holding a live insect specimen.

Karen Plucinski

Karen Plucinski

Instructor

Karen Plucinski is a professor at Missouri Southern State University in the Department of Biology and Environmental Health, teaching general ecology, mammalogy and, conservation biology.  Karen received her Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology (University of Maine) as part of the Holt Forest research team, studying the effect of forest management on tree seed predation by small mammals.  She also holds a M.S. in Zoology (University of Montana) and B.S. in Zoology (University of New Hampshire).  Hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at an early age stimulated her interest in the natural world. She has also worked as a Wildlife Biologist teaching ecology and natural resources management for Great Plains Wildlife Institute (Jackson, Wyoming).  She loves to teach specialized topics courses with field components (Ecology of the Sonoran Desert, Ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and Natural History Contributions of the Lewis and Clark Expedition).  She resides in southwest Missouri with her husband Mark and four children (three fur and one feather).  She enjoys any outdoor activity, but especially running, cycling, hiking, and wildlife watching, preferable in the high desert of central Oregon.

Caitlin Potter

Caitlin Potter

Instructor

Caitlin Potter received her B.S in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology from the University of California at Davis and her M.A. and Ph.D in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. For her dissertation work, Caitlin studied social development, alternative strategies and behavior of gelada monkeys in Ethiopia, spending many, many months following juvenile monkeys around through the gorgeous Afro-alpine highlands. She also taught several undergraduate field courses in northern Kenya, where she advised projects on all her favorite "safari species."  Her experiences teaching abroad and in New Jersey led her to pursue a new career path in environmental education, first at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, as an Advanced Inquiry Program instructor for Project Dragonfly, and currently as the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (a University of Minnesota field station). Nowadays she can be found running wildlife-y citizen science projects, developing and delivering programs to K-12 students, working with scientists to translate their results into public programs and resources, and generally exploring the 5600 acres of field station she calls home. In her non-existent free time, Caitlin enjoys backpacking, reading, road trips and getting new stamps in her passport.

Jennifer Price

Jennifer Price

Instructor

Jennifer Price graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in biology and a minor in environmental sciences. She was fortunate enough to participate in an undergraduate semester abroad program in Queensland, Australia with the School for Field Studies. There, she studied rainforest ecology and conservation. She continued her education at Rutgers University where she earned a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution. Since then, she has been involved in research and conservation projects involving freshwater invertebrates, water quality, reptiles, and amphibians. In addition to her courses at Project Dragonfly, Jennifer also teaches biology at John Tyler Community College in Virginia and is working on a research grant involving the relationship between freshwater mussels and dams in South Carolina rivers. In her spare time, she enjoys horseback riding, and playing games with her husband and 9 year old son, Simon.

Katy Reagan

Katy Reagan

Instructor

Katy Reagan is an environmental consultant and owns her own business, Sunbird Biological, which is a small natural resources consulting firm specializing in wildlife biology, permitting, compliance, and GIS. Katy holds an M.S. in Natural Resource Management, a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, and she is a Certified Wildlife Biologist through The Wildlife Society. With more than 14 years of experience managing environmental projects and providing biological technical expertise, she has experience in various survey methods for analyzing and monitoring wildlife and habitats. Katy has knowledge of state and federal environmental regulations, and has experience in preparation of an assortment of biological resources reports and other documents in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and Clean Water Act. Her teaching experience includes substituting K-12, undergraduate biology laboratories, and master's student mentoring. Through an opportunity with the Denver Zoo and in collaboration with Mongolian State University of Education, Katy serves as the lead bat researcher at Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Mongolia. Her hobbies include skiing, camping, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Nancy Sundell-Turner

Nancy Sundell-Turner

Instructor

Nancy Sundell-Turner comes from a diverse background with degrees in physics, mathematics and biology. After completing a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Cornell University (focusing on mathematical ecology), she went on to further study in ecology earning an M.S. in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University. Her master's work focused on studying landscape metrics used for conservation planning. Most recently, she has spent her time as a stay-at-home mom to her three children. During that time she's enjoyed a lot of hikes and nature programs with her kids, as well as participating in volunteer work at their school, planning events and helping with weekly Forest Friday hikes with her son's class.

Heather Taft

Heather Taft

Instructor

Heather Taft received her Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, with a dissertation focused on conservation genetics, from the University of California, Riverside. There she spent her nights in the field trapping kangaroo rats and her days in the lab analyzing DNA from hair samples taken off the captured animals in order to assess their movement across southern California highways. Heather’s passion lies not only in conservation but also in teaching, and learning how to teach better, to inspire future conservation biologists. Since graduating Heather has completed a Graduate Certificate in E-learning and Online Teaching through the University of Wisconsin, Stout where she designed an introductory biology class with a lab that she now teaches online for State Fair Community College in Missouri. She also teaches undergraduate biology classes online for Colorado State University - Global Campus.

Carrie Washburn

Carrie Washburn

Instructor

Carrie Washburn received her B.S. in Zoology from Michigan State University and her M.S in Biology from Central Michigan University. Her master’s research involved animal behavior to understand amphibian movement patterns. She also has worked with snake habitat use and honeybee navigation. Prior to teaching, Carrie worked with The Nature Conservancy as a wetlands restoration specialist and enjoyed working with community outreach. Her travels to Australia, West Indies and Amsterdam, along with field work in Michigan, Oregon and Canada have increased her awareness of global issues and the importance of teaching these issues in both formal and informal styles, using traditional and non-traditional (online) methods of teaching. Carrie lives in Chicago with her husband and children and enjoys traveling in her free time. She has recently discovered the joy of foraying!

Rachel Yoho

Rachel Yoho

Visiting Assistant Professor

Rachel Yoho earned a Ph.D. in Biological Design from Arizona State University, where she studied microbial electrochemical systems. Also from Arizona State University, Rachel completed a Certificate in Scientific Teaching in Higher Education. She investigated climate change and energy technologies in undergraduate educational materials. Her background is in biology. Currently, Rachel's research interests lie at the intersections of disciplines and she is studying cross-cutting concepts and topics in environmental education. Outside of teaching and research, Rachel enjoys spending time with family, reading, and DIY projects.