As the Program Director of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of California – Santa Cruz, It is my privilege to directly mentor, teach, and advise outstanding undergraduate Scholars from across the US. The two-year program combines experiential education in conservation research and leadership, with nation-wide internships in conservation practice. Our goal is to grow diverse leadership to strengthen conservation efforts.
My general teaching philosophy in ecology and conservation revolves around creating transcendent experiences of discovery, identity formation, and connection that serve as lifelong touchstones for passion around the natural world and conservation. These experiences are different for every student, ranging from ecological discovery fueled by a masterful understanding of linear regression, frolicking through a field of alpine flora, to a meaningful dialogue with an invited speaker. My goal as an educator and mentor is to excite students via those experiences and use inquiry-based and experiential learning approaches to teach analytical, communication, and leadership skills. Ultimately my goal as a mentor is to help students to see themselves as leaders in making the changes they want to see in the world.
Erika S. Zavaleta, Roxanne S. Beltran, and Abraham L. Borker: How Field Courses Propel Inclusion and Collective Excellence. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 11/2020; DOI:10.1016/j.tree.2020.08.005
Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program (UCSC)
- An immersive six-week field course in conservation science and leadership, including elements of: ecological field research, natural history, research design, sampling, statistics, communication, leadership, writing, and presentation skills.
- Introduction to Field Research and Conservation (UCSC)
- I designed this course to give underclassmen an introduction to research methods through an inquiry-based curriculum involving field trips and two overnight research experiences on UCSC Natural Reserves
- Research on the course efficacy led by Drs. Roxanne Beltran, Alexandra Race and colleagues;
- Race et al. How an Early, Inclusive Field Course can Build Persistence in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 9/2021
- Beltran et al. Field courses narrow demographic achievement gaps in ecology and evolutionary biology. Ecology and Evolution. 5/2020
- Introduction to Applied Ecology (Santa Clara University)