Biologist and Educator
I am an Assistant Professor at North Central College, a small liberal arts school outside of Chicago. My research interests are in the roles of symbiotic fungal networks on plant interactions and community structuring. I am also interested in pedagogy, specifically focusing on active-learning strategies like research-based courses for first year undergraduate biology students.
The Weremijewicz Mycorrhiza Lab is under way at North Central College!
Could we fit anymore of the alphabet into two words?! Check out the people of our lab and their projects under the new "People of the Lab" tab at the top!
National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Grant awarded for work with Native American students on the roles of common mycorrhizal networks of invasive species on mycorrhizal communities
My recent proposal to the NSF postdoctoral grant was recently offered funding! Unfortunately, I was unable to take the funding because I will be starting as faculty in the fall. I plan to resubmit this proposal for work in Illinois prairies and working with local students at North Central College as a full NSF proposal.
Joining North Central College (Naperville, IL) Faculty in Fall 2017!
I am happy to announce that I'll be joining North Central College's Department of Biology in September as an Assistant Professor of Biology. I look forward to working with a great group of people interested in pedagogy, as well as the students that want a liberal arts experience in the classroom and research experiences outside of the classroom. North Central is a perfect location for my research on prairie grasses and also offers a brand new STEM building in which there is a greenhouse for pot/microcosm studies. Looking forward to starting a productive career there!
Miami-Dade High School students publish a paper on their work in DNA primers
As a part of my work in the education program at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, I organized and ran a high school internship program for Miami Dade High School Students. In collaboration with scientists at Florida International University and the Fairchild's volunteer scientists, we mentored students in conducting scientific research. The students ended the summer by writing up and publishing their findings on native Florida orchid microsatellite DNA primers that would ultimately be used in determining the population genetics of the two orchid species.
NSF grant featured at University of Miami
My research and recently won National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant was recently featured in the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences news website.
See it here: http://www.as.miami.edu/news/news-archive/um-biology-phd-student-receives-dissertation-support-grant-from-national-science-foundation.html
NSF- DDIG project underway at Richmond Heights Middle!
Since acquiring the grant in June, the majority of the Fall 2014 semester has been spent preparing, gathering materials and setting up my DDIG experiment. I have enlisted the help of students from an Agri-science program at Richmond Heights Middle School, a title-1 school at which I worked as an NSF GK-12 fellow.
Students first learned about the role of mycorrhizas in plant nutrition by performing their own experiments on corn and broccoli. By growing plants with and without mycorrhizal fungi, they learned that the mycorrhiza relationship can be different for different plant species. They also learned about variables, hypotheses, measurements, and data. I also taught students how to take their recorded data and plot it in Microsoft Excel to illustrate the trends we were seeing in their treatments.
Following our first experiment, students then began helping me in the making of 1800 specialized cone-tainers and the set-up of 18 microcosms. These cone-tainers allow mycorrhizal fungi hyphae (filaments) to grow from the plant root system out of the cone-tainer to neighboring cone-tainers, thereby connecting plants in a microcosm through common mycorrhizal networks. Microcosms were completely set-up and seeded on December 8th, 2014 and they will remain in pre-treatment for two months.