The Stanford Biology Department is excited to welcome Jeffrey Smith as a Humanities and Sciences Dean's Fellow! This position, offered for the first time this year, allows recent PhD graduates to continue their own research while also contributing to teaching within their host department. Jeffrey will be working alongside Dr. Susan McConnell to help design new courses that will be targeted at engaging biology undergraduates through innovative and interactive methods.
When asked about the program Jeffrey said, “I am very excited by the opportunity to serve as a Humanities and Sciences Deans Fellow this upcoming year. I have been so impressed by the undergraduate students in the Biology Department and am grateful for the opportunity to continue engaging with these students throughout the upcoming year. Having an opportunity to help redesign the senior capstone experiences, a core part of the undergraduate experience, for these students will be immensely rewarding!”
Jeffrey has twice served as a Teaching Assistant in the Biology Department. He served as a TA for the introductory ecology and evolution lab course “BIO 47: Research in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology”. He also helped to develop “BIO 138: Ecosystem Services: Frontiers in the Science of Valuing Nature” alongside Dr. Gretchen Daily (Professor of Biology) and Dr. Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer (The Natural Capital Project).
In addition to teaching, Jeffrey is excited to continue his research with the Natural Capital Project and the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology on understanding the impacts of human land use on biodiversity. His primary research focus is on understanding how the conversion of natural habitats to agriculture impacts biodiversity. Jeffrey principally studies insect biodiversity, but also considers patterns of plant diversity and bird diversity. He studies these impacts using classical field research methods, emerging lab-based genetic techniques, and computer models. Jeffrey works extensively with spatial models of biodiversity, including the distribution of species, the spatial patterns of habitat types, and variability in ecosystem structure. This work pulls both from primary data collected in the field as well as publicly available data and spans spatial scales from national (Costa Rica) to regional (the neotropics) to global. Jeffrey received his PhD from the Biology department this past year and holds a MESc from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BS from the University of Delaware.