Before joining the Duffy Lab as a doctoral student, Shaw earned her bachelor’s in Biochemistry from Oberlin College, taught high school biology, and got her master’s in education at University of Mississippi. Here at Michigan, Shaw’s dissertation research hinges on the factors affecting epidemic timing and size of parasites in Daphnia populations. Her findings indicate that ambient light in the water column of lakes can kill parasite spores, illustrated by smaller outbreaks of bacterial parasites in more transparent lakes. She will defend her dissertation in April, and then hit the ground running at UMBS for spring term in May.
“I'm excited to teach at the biological station because it seems like THE place to teach and learn ecology,” says Shaw. “Not only are there fascinating ecosystems right outside, there's also a really rich trove of historical data that the students can use to explore ecological questions, and they can build on previous projects with their own research.”
Her expertise in evolutionary, community, and disease ecology and her teaching experience and background in education are sure to bring field science alive for her students.
“I'm also excited about working closely with a small group of students and with great TAs - the intimacy of the learning environment as well as the hands-on experiences we can have in the field will increase student engagement, and (I hope) have lasting learning impacts.”
In addition to training the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists, Shaw looks forward to “gaining wonderful new colleagues” and continuing to develop relationships with faculty and researchers from across the country.