On Teaching Evolution Contributors



Nicoline (Nikki) Chambers
has taught high school life science (biology, integrated science, and astrobiology) in southern California since 2003. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from UCLA, and her teaching credential from Cal State Long Beach. She has held teacher ambassador roles for the UC Museum of Paleontology, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and TIES. She also does curriculum development as a “teacher as researcher” at UC Berkeley and the University of Edinburgh. She loves wondering about how life got to be the way it is (on Earth or any other world), and that every answer leads to ten more questions. Nothing makes her happier than seeing the sparks of curiosity and understanding light up a child’s eyes.

Amanda Clapp has an M.A. in Anthropology and an M.A.Ed. in Middle Grades STEM education. She is a National Board Certified teacher and she teaches middle school science at The Catamount School, a North Carolina Lab School run by Western Carolina University. The school is operated in cooperation with Jackson County Public Schools, where she has taught in different roles for 16 years. She is a National Geographic Certified educator and a Kenan Fellow, informing her advocacy for environmental education and equity in North Carolina, and in all schools. As a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Math and Science Teachers, Amanda is developing a network of partnerships between rural and urban teachers to develop environmental education experiences for their students and strengthen our human understanding through science. 

Kenny Coogan earned a BS in Animal Behavior at the University of Buffalo, NY. He then worked in the education departments of zoological facilities for 10 years before becoming a science teacher. He was awarded the Beginning Science Teacher of the Year Award for the State of Florida through the Florida Association of Science Teachers. He has averaged over $10,000 worth of donations for his classroom per year. In his spare time, he is a regular columnist for print magazines such as Backyard Poultry. Kenny shares his one-acre permaculture homestead with cats, chickens, ducks, and a 30-year old Moluccan cockatoo named Buddy. His goal is to live off of the land.

Robert Cooper (@bcooper721) recently retired after 36 years of teaching science. For the first five years of his career, he taught life science and physical science at the middle school level. For the remaining 31 years he taught biology (AP, Honors, and General) at Pennsbury High School, a large high school in the Philadelphia suburbs, earning National Board Certification in 2009. Robert continues to be an advocate for teaching evolution, as he was throughout his teaching career.

Chance Duncan was born and raised in the Arkansas River Valley in Central Arkansas. Chance feels fortunate that he was raised in a rural area and was allowed to explore the fields and woods nearby, getting to know the local ecosystem's flora and fauna. Less lucky for his parents was Chance developing a deep fascination with reptiles, snakes in particular. This fascination led to a tendency to want to share what he found out with his friends and family, so teaching seemed like a natural fit. Chance graduated with my B. Sc. in Science Education from Arkansas Tech University in 2007 and began teaching at a very small, rural school. He moved around to a couple of different districts and began a master's degree program from Montana State University in 2011, completing my M. Sc. in Science Education in 2014. Chance has taught biology in Arkansas for almost a decade and a half and he really can't think of a better career.

Reginald Finley is an Atlanta, GA native. He hosted an online audio program for a decade interviewing experts in diverse scientific fields including Dr. Richard Dawkins. His first experience teaching began as a security trainer, then later as an Information Technology educator. After earning a Bachelor's in Human Development and a Master's in Science Education, he began tutoring online and volunteered at local science museums. He was eventually afforded an opportunity to work as the Director of Education and Outreach for Skeleton's Museum in Orlando, Florida. That same year, he was offered a position to work as a Biology Teacher at Apopka High School. After earning his Master's in Biology from Clemson, he worked at a private 2nd-12th grade school in Longwood, Florida teaching elementary, middle, and high school students about the wonders of science. He's currently a Biology Instructor at Valencia College and possesses a Ph.D. in Natural Science Education.

Kathryn Green has spent her life in classrooms as a student, a middle school science teacher, an anthropology instructor, and an educational researcher.  She holds undergraduate and Master's degrees in Anthropology and became enthralled with hominid evolution in college.  Her mission in life is to support teachers in teaching evolution for understanding and acceptance.  

Patti Howell, Ed.D. has taught high school science for twenty years in Georgia. Prior to teaching, she was a polyurethane chemist. Her commitment to science education does not stop in the classroom. As District 11 Director for Georgia Science Teachers Association, she is an advocate for teacher training and student learning of science in southwest Georgia. She also works as an educator for Albany’s Artesian Alliance, which includes Thronateeska Heritage Center, Chehaw Zoo, and Flint Riverquarium, developing curriculum and delivering programs. In her spare time, she loves traveling and hiking with her husband, Seth. Her favorite role, however, is being Granny to Fiona and Lucas.

John S. Mead developed a passion for human origins early in life thanks to books on the topic. John studied at Duke University where he earned his Bachelor and Master of Arts in Teacher (MAT) degrees. Upon graduating in 1990, John found his professional home at the St. Mark’s School of Texas where he holds the Eugene McDermott Master Teaching Chair in Science. He has taught most grade levels from 5th to 12th with a focus on the biological sciences and middle school students.

In his three decades in the classroom John has worked with a myriad of scientists connected to evolution as well as the study of human origins. He has travelled to all continents except Antarctica following his love of evolution.

In recognition of John’s work to expand and improve human origins education he has received awards from both local and national groups. He also works with groups including the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), the American Association of Biological Anthropologists (AABA), and TIES because he believes that science literacy matters. You can find John on Twitter at @Evo_Explorer.

David Mowry was raised and still lives in Bremen, Ohio. (Don't worry, nobody else knows where that is either). He received a B.Sci in Wildlife Biology from Ohio University in 2004, immediately after which he worked for one of his professors as a field technician on a mark/recapture mammal study. Starting in 2005, David taught Outdoor Education in Brinkhaven, Ohio for 4 years. He returned to Ohio University to do graduate work in science education and received his teaching certificate.  In 2012, he began working as a science instructor at Mid-East Career and Technology Centers in Zanesville, Ohio, where he is still employed. David currently lives in a former funeral home with his wife, two kids, an incredibly stupid dog and a bunch of cats that won't leave.

Blake Touchet lives in Abbeville, Louisiana with his wife, Chrisanda, and two sons, Luke and Hugo.  He has taught middle school, high school, and undergraduate biology and environmental sciences since completing his BS in Secondary Biology Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2010. In addition to pursuing advanced degrees in Biology (MS from Mississippi State University in 2015) and Curriculum Leadership (Ed.D from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2021) while teaching, Blake has served as a TIES Teacher Corps member since 2015 and a Teacher Ambassador for the National Center for Science Education since 2017. He has worked on state and district committees for developing curricula, assessments, and mentoring science teachers related to NGSS instructional shifts. His research interests include understanding teacher and administrator knowledge and acceptance of “socially controversial” science topics such as evolution and climate change.

David Upegui is a Latino immigrant who found his way out of poverty through science. He currently serves as a science teacher at his alma mater, Central Falls High School (RI) and as an adjunct professor of Education. His personal philosophy and inclusive approach to science education have enabled students to become problem-solvers and innovative thinkers. He has a keen ability to engage students in learning, exploring, and contributing to science. He received the NABT’s Evolution Education Award (2014) and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2019 (2017 cohort). Upegui started, and runs, the school's Science Olympiad team and has contributed to several publications on science education and appropriate pedagogy. He recently completed his doctoral degree in education at the University of RI, focusing on science education and social justice. Reach Upegui on Twitter (@upeguijara).