I am a senior lecturer in Microbiology, where I teach and coordinate the General Microbiology Lab course (BioMi 2911). My goal for this course is to show students how scientists use experiments to learn new information about the microbes around us. In addition, I’m in charge of training TA’s how to teach. To that end, I offer a course, BIOMI 7960 - Current Topics in Microbiology Education. I am currently developing a new course in Public Health Microbiology with Dr. Jim Shapleigh.
The main focus of my volunteer outreach efforts has been through a collaboration at the Sciencenter here in Ithaca, NY. It began about 8 years ago with a professor from SUNY Cortland, Dr. Bob Silberman, who wanted to develop hands on activities for kids in chemistry and biochemistry. We worked together to adapt activities from his college lab for younger kids. Our first collaboration resulted in a publication (2004. Silberman, RG, C. Trautman, and SM Merkel. Chemistry at a Science Museum. Journal of Chemistry Education (81) 51) and a successful Chemagination program that is used in science museums around the country. I am currently working with Bob and Rea Ostman (Sciencenter staff) on another project expanding these activities to be used in schools and by families.