I have an expansive vision of my role in education, manifested in advocacy for improvement in high school science education, and the development of students as informed and empowered citizens of an ever-changing global society.”
Paula’s natural interest in biology was cultivated while studying at Central Michigan University (CMU). Impressed by the faculty at CMU, she continued her studies at the school, earning a master’s degree in conservation biology. Rooted in population genetics, her research focused on analyzing the allelic diversity of red-backed salamanders in mainland and island habitats throughout Michigan. As a graduate student, most of Paula’s time was spent flipping over logs on forest floors, extracting DNA from tiny samples of tail tissue and teaching general biology and ecology labs—a task that brought her great joy.
After wrapping up her research and graduate coursework, Paula was hired to manage the Applied Technologies in Conservation Genetics laboratory at CMU. Much to her excitement, the role offered the opportunity to teach, in addition to conducting research. As the administrator and lead instructor for the lab’s Forensic Science Summer Camp for high school students, she fell in love with teaching. Her next position involved relocating to New York to work as a laboratory supervisor at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). For three years, she worked under the curator of ornithology, training graduate and undergraduate students in molecular biology techniques and sequencing/analyzing bird DNA. While teaching middle school science classes for a cooperative homeschooling group, she found that her love for teaching was greater than her love for research.
To begin her teaching career on the right track, she learned more about the practice of teaching by earning a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan.
Paula loves outdoor recreation, including fishing, hiking, boating and camping. She also enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her husband and their pets.