2024 W. Main Street, Suite A200
Durham, NC 27705-4667
Tel: (919) 668-4551
Fax: (919) 668-9198


Evo101: A Workshop for Educators


This workshop is being jointly sponsored, organized and conducted by

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) and

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS)

with support and participation from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Date: June 18-20, 2014

Location: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC

Why do we study evolution? Why do we teach it?  How can we teach it more effectively and engagingly?  How can we draw on cutting edge research in evolution to make it more relevant and exciting to our students?  How can we overcome some of the common obstacles and pitfalls to make teaching and learning evolution more successful and rewarding?

Aimed at instructors at the high school level, this workshop is designed to address all of those questions by providing an overview of key evolutionary concepts and mechanisms, and exploring cutting-edge topics in evolutionary science.  Evolutionary biologists and educators at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) will present topics with an emphasis on recent developments and practical applications. The scientific content will be supported by hands on classroom activities, pedagogy demonstrations and information about teaching resources. 

All participants will receive a collection of evolution teaching resources and Continuing Education credits.


There is no registration fee, and all participants will receive a small daily stipend to cover transportation and meals.  In addition, small stipends are available for non-Triangle-based applicants to help defray the cost of hotel stays in the Raleigh area.  This is done to encourage applications from teachers based all across NC and beyond.





Workshop Leaders

Jennifer Bricken - Jennifer Bricken is the Senior Manager of Outreach, Evaluation, and Operations within the educational media team at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She manages the outreach and teacher professional development efforts of the educational media team, endeavoring to broaden, facilitate, and support the use of HHMI’s educational resources primarily for high school and college-level biology classrooms across the country. She also directs the planning and conduct of numerous workshops, field tests, and evaluation projects that inform the group’s content production. Ms. Bricken studied biology and paleoprimatology at the University of New Mexico. She keeps her finger on the pulse of the life science education community and actively seeks strategic partnerships designed to support and improve science teaching.

Robin Bulleri – Mrs. Bulleri teaches Biology and AP Biology at Carrboro High School. She earned a B.S. and M.Ed. from Boston University, and has taught in Massachusetts and North Carolina for 13 years. She developed this workshop as part of the Kenan Fellows Program, a competitive fellowship that fosters leadership and development in teachers. Mrs. Bulleri has received numerous grants, developed curricula, and presented at conferences.

Jason Cryan – Dr. Cryan is the Deputy Museum Director for Research & Collections at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. He received his BA in Zoology from the University of Vermont and his MS and Ph.D. in Entomology from North Carolina State University. Prior to assuming his position at the NCMNS, he was a research scientist at the New York State Museum (Albany, NY) where he directed research in their DNA Sequencing Laboratory. Jason’s research focuses on evolutionary investigations of a group of plant-feeding insects that includes icons of tropical biodiversity as well as pests of worldwide economic and agricultural importance (including pests of rice, corn, and sugarcane).

Rachel Fisher - Rachel Fisher is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in science education at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation will examine evolution instruction in high school biology classrooms in southwest Arizona. Rachel received her B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan, her M.S. in Biology from the University of Central Florida, and then obtained a secondary teaching license in biology. Prior to entering the doctorate program, Rachel worked as a researcher in the fields of marine, molecular, and evolutionary biology, and spent a few years teaching middle school, high school, and college-level biology.

Megan Stine – Dr. Stine is a Program Officer for outreach and evaluation within the educational media team at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She received her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Following a postdoctoral position, she served as the manager of the CTYOnline science program at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Megan has experience producing science education materials for audiences of all ages. Her work for the HHMI educational media team centers on outreach projects to promote BioInteractive resources to science educators and students.

Jory Weintraub - Dr. Weintraub is the Asst. Director of Education & Outreach at NESCent. He received his BS in Biochemistry/Cell Biology from the University of California at San Diego, and his Ph.D. in Immunology from UNC Chapel Hill, followed by an NSF-funded postdoctoral fellowship in Science Education. He taught undergraduate biology for several years at UNC, as well as at several historically minority universities throughout North Carolina. His areas of focus include faculty development, minority outreach, undergraduate curriculum development and instruction, and instructional technology. Dr. Weintraub was recently named the North Carolina Outstanding Informal Science Educator of the Year by the NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center.





Tentative Schedule

Wednesday, June 18th


9:00 AM       Welcome, Goals of Workshop, Introductions


9:45 AM       Importance of Teaching Evolution as a Unifying Concept in Biology; NC Essential Standards and Evolution

10:00 AM    Geologic Time and Paleontology


10:45 AM     Break


11:00 AM    Systematics, Tree Thinking, Phylogenetics


12:00 PM     Lunch (Lunchtime Discussion: Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Evolution)


1:15 PM      Driving Forces of Evolution: Mutation, Natural Selection, Genetic Drift, Gene Flow


2:00 PM       Natural Selection vs. Sexual Selection


2:45 PM       Break


3:00 PM       NCMNS/NRC Tour - Using Museum Exhibits to Teach Evolution


4:30 PM       Wrap-Up, Questions/Comments



Thursday, June 19th


9:00 AM       Developing Evolution Lessons Using NCMNS/NRC Exhibits - Ideas and Group Assignments

9:45 AM       Evolution Teaching Resources from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) - Part 1

10:45 AM     Break

11:00 AM     Evolution Teaching Resources from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) - Part 2


12:00 PM     Lunch (Lunchtime Discussion: Evolution Book Club - What are Your Favorite Books about Evolution?)

1:15 PM       Biodiversity and Biogeography

2:00 PM       Evolution and Biodiversity Close to Home - Examples from within NC   


2:45 PM       Break


3:00 PM      Hominid Evolution

3:45 PM      Challenges of Teaching Evolution and How to Deal with Them


4:30 PM       Wrap-Up, Questions/Comments


Friday, June 20th


9:00 AM       Evidence for and Common Misconceptions of Evolution


10:00 AM     Online/Computer-Based Simulations of Evolution


10:30 AM     Break


10:45 AM     Group Work - Developing Evolution Lessons Using NCMNS/NRC Exhibits


11:45 AM     Lunch (Lunchtime Discussion: Evolution and the New(ish) AP Biology Curriculum)


1:00 PM      Group Work - Developing Evolution Lessons Using NCMNS/NRC Exhibits


2:00 PM      DNA Sequencing Technology and its Applications in Evolution Research


2:45 PM      Break


3:00 PM      Group Presentations - Evolution Lessons Using NCMNS/NRC Exhibits


4:15 PM      Wrap-up, Workshop Evaluation, Hand out CEU Certificates





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