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I am the Founder and CEO of Galactic Polymath Education Studio. I was formerly a Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt's Center for Science Outreach where I worked as  a Resident Scientist at a Metro Nashville Public middle school for over 3 years. My previous and ongoing research involves multimodal sexual selection, acoustic divergence, and speciation. For my PhD, I studied barn swallows in North America, Europe, and Asia to quantify variation in feather ornaments and song resulting from different targets of sexual selection across populations. As a postdoc at the University of Nebraska, I extended this work by developing a 'phenotype network' approach for visualizing and analyzing the functional evolution of sexual communication signals in barn swallows and Schizocosa wolf spiders.


February, 2021

Very excited to announce that I am leaving Vanderbilt University to begin a new endeavor, running Galactic Polymath Education Studio full-time!

September, 2020

Very excited that my paper with Karan Odom, Lauryn Benedict & Becca Safran on female song in barn swallows is finally online at Animal Behaviour

August, 2020

My first proof-of-concept lesson, adapting my current research for a rigorous STEAM math lesson is available. (It connects 45 national standards in all 4 subjects)!

July, 2020

I presented our new results on female barn swallow song, as well as my vision for Galactic Polymath and the importance of translating new research for K-12 audiences at ABS. Watch the talk here!
A long-term project on female barn swallow song was accepted at Animal Behaviour!

April, 2020

So excited to announce that I've formed an LLC and founded Galactic Polymath Education Studios. Stay tuned for more on this :)

February, 2020

Had so much fun chatting about research (mis)adventures, scicomm, dinosaur rapping, & the beauty of evolution on Science with Friends!
January, 2020

Excited the Animal Behaviour Society has awarded me an Outreach Grant to support development of 6th grade interdisciplinary lessons based on my upcoming paper on female song in barn swallows!
So honored to receive the inaugural Impact Goals Award from the Center for Advancing Research in Society
February, 2019

Still can't believe I was featured on 99% Invisible! One of my favorite podcasts--check it out!

October, 2018

I was on the great podcast Zero Waste Countdown, discussing plastic pollution and how to address it!

July, 2018

My first popular press article published on the Scientific American Observations Blog! "More Recycling Won't Solve Plastic Pollution"

April, 2018

Great write-up by Scott Schrage on my over-arching dissertation chapter on barn swallow song divergence!

March, 2018

I'll be presenting a poster at SciComm 2018, the conference I started as a postdoc at UNL! Super stoked!
Paper led by Malcolm Rosenthal is live at Evolution! Really cool work applying the phenotype network approach to multimodal signaling I developed with barn swallows to wolf spiders!
February, 2018

Projects are up for the 8th grade Climate Change Week unit I coordinated! Check out these amazing projects!

January, 2018

Very excited that the overarching project from my dissertation was accepted at the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society! "Global song divergence in barn swallows (Hirundo rustica): exploring the roles of genetic, geographic, and climatic distance in sympatry and allopatry"
Also, a long term project led by Malcolm Rosenthal was accepted at Evolution! "Dynamic changes in display architecture and function across environments revealed by a systems approach to animal communication" When it rains, it pours!

October, 2017

'Pygids' won its 3rd Award! Most Awesome Science Video from the Arizona State Science Showcase Competition
Our paper on barn swallow divergence and gene flow in 2 Russian hybrid zones is up at Molecular Ecology!

August, 2017

My video 'Pygids' entered into the 2017 Science Showcase Video Contest. Check it out!

June, 2017

I will be joining Vanderbilt's Center for Science Outreach as a Resident Scientist Postdoctoral Fellow in August. So stoked!

December, 2016

I made a video for Condor Watch, as part of an effort to help them recruit citizen scientists!
Here are all the great talks from SciComm 2016!

October, 2016

All the great things that happened at SciComm2016 are compiled here on Storify!

August, 2016

My paper "Divergent sexual selection explains phenotypic differentiation among closely related barn swallow populations" accepted at Journal of Evolutionary Biology! (With no changes requested, whaaat?!)
Our paper "Genome-wide differentiation in closely related populations: the roles of selection and geographic isolation" and my photo make the cover of this month's issue of Molecular Ecology!
July, 2016

SciComm 2016 Registration is Open! Come to Nebraska Sep 23-24 to share ideas, take part in science outreach, & forge new collaborations!
Our first Numbat Media project, 'Pygids,' won the Arachnology Film Competition!
Paper on genomic differentiation & adaptation in barn swallows available for early view at Mol Ecol

June, 2016

My music video project w/ Tyler Corey, 'Pygids,' won the 6th Annual Evolution Film Fest! Woohoo! And we get a really cool trophy with Darwin's head on it!

May 19, 2016

Paper with Maren Vitousek on physiological underpinnings of divergent sexual signals in barn swallows out at Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

March 7, 2016

Our ProcB paper on phenotype networks is highlighted in new paper from Hebets et al!

Feb 16, 2016

Numbat Media is up! This is a collaborative project I've just started that aims to grow a large public audience for biology outreach through fun multimedia content. Give me a shout if you'd like to contribute!

Dec 3, 2015

Videos are up for SciComm 2015! Check em out. I recommend starting with Julia McQuillan's talk on the leaky STEM pipeline.

Oct 4, 2015

It's finally here! SciComm 2015: A symposium on effective science communication--an event I organized through Biological Sciences and the Materials Research Science & Engineering Center. A unique gathering of communicators from around Nebraska and Colorado!
Oct 2, 2015

My article on multimodal signalling in barn swallows now posted at ProcB!!

Sep 3, 2015

My paper "Multimodal signaling in the North American barn swallow: A phenotype network approach" was just accepted at Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences!! This is the first empirical chapter to come from my PhD research--it's been a long road, but I'm super proud of the manuscript my coauthors and I put together!

Aug 6, 2015

Just got back from the first OTS course on Science Communication at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica! Check out our film, print, and radio projects here (click the menu button at upper right for the other projects):

May 15, 2015

I've been selected to present in the Warder Clyde Allee Competition at the Animal Behaviour Society Meeting in Anchorage!

March 26, 2015

Spider trials are done! I recorded competitive and mating interactions for 50 sets of spiders of both species of wolf spiders we captured in Florida! analyze the data!
January 8, 2015

I returned from a sampling trip with other Hebets Lab members, along with ~400 individuals for both Schizocosa floridana and S. crassipes. I'll be raising these little guys to maturity in order to run experiments to determine which traits are important for predicting competitive vs mating success.
November 4, 2014

I just created a store at Society Six for some of my photos! You can get prints, mugs, shirts, laptop covers etc.

September 24, 2014

I will present my work on multimodal sexual signaling in North American barn swallows at the AOU/COS/SCO Joint Ornithological Conference at Estes Park: Session C15B, Wed 10am, at Longs Peak-Granite Pass

June 22, 2014

I will be presenting my work on contributions of intra- and intersexual selection to signal evolution in North American barn swallows at the Evolution Meeting in Durham, NC.
June 6, 2014

I was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I will begin this post in August to study the evolution of sexual signaling in Schizocosa wolf spiders with Drs. Dai Shizuka and Eileen Hebets!
May 8, 2014

I was hooded by my advisor at the graduation ceremony. Yeah!
April 14, 2014

I defended my dissertation today. I'm now pretty much a doctor (barring a little paperwork). Woot!
May 16, 2013

Our field season website is up! Check it out at
May 15, 2013

Dr. Liz Scordato and I just arrived in Moscow, Russia! We will be doing a transect across Siberia for the next 2 1/2 months, taking blood, morphological and feather samples, as well as song recordings from three different barn swallow species (Hirundo rustica rustica, H. r. tytleri, and H. r. gutturalis).
Mar 30, 2013

I will be presenting a talk at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society, hosted at home by CU Boulder July 28-August 1.
Feb 20, 2013

I will be presenting my recent work on multimodal signaling in barn swallow sexual selection and communication at the Front Range Student Ecology Symposium at Colorado State.
Nov 9, 2012

My first dissertation chapter, "Evolutionary divergence in acoustic signals: causes and consequences" is now online at Trends in Ecology and Evolution.