Hi! I’m a science teacher and the Research Collaborative program coordinator at Marin Academy, as well as a PhD Candidate in UMass Amherst’s Organismic and Evolutionary Biology graduate program. Every day, I try to learn and share something new about how the natural world works.
As a scientist, I research the strange and intricate ways that complex animal behaviors evolve and function. In particular, I explore vocal communication in songbirds, a system with many parallels to human speech and language. For more on this work, check out my Research page.
As a STEM educator, I employ an intentional and inclusive pedagogical approach to cultivate curiosity, critical thinking, and scientific literacy in my students. Through compassionate teaching and research mentorship, I aim to empower a confident next generation of lifelong learners. For more on this work, check out my Teaching + Mentoring page.
As a science advocate, I share my passion for both the natural world and the scientific process through diverse outreach and science communication efforts. I’m dedicated to helping build a scientifically literate, scientifically engaged public. For more on this work, check out my Outreach + Communication page.
I had an array of experiences that led me to pursue a career in biology. Some formative highlights include: discovering my love of early mornings while mist-netting dickcissels on the Konza Prairie, tagging horseshoe crabs during spawning at night with NYC Audubon, managing a dermestid beetle colony to prepare vertebrate skeletal material for the American Museum of Natural History, learning basic statistics by exploring the correlation between cost and taste of different rum brands while studying abroad in Costa Rica, and reflecting on the spontaneous dance battle I had with a stranger-turned-husband in the context of courtship behavioral ecology.
Do you lie awake at night thinking about evolutionary mechanisms? ecological interdependencies? the avian syrinx? STEM literacy? I’d love to chat!
email: firstname.lastname@example.org / twitter: @avstrauss / pronouns: she, her
Based in San Francisco, CA.