Assistant Professor Erin Mordecai is fascinated by interactions between species and their environment, especially when they affect our everyday lives. Her Introductory Seminar course Bio 2N explores the relationship between human-driven environmental change and infectious diseases by using student-led research and literature review projects to explore themes like: Why did the Zika epidemic emerge when and where it did? How will climate change affect mosquito-borne diseases? How have infectious diseases shaped the course of human history? In Bio 81, students learn both the theoretical and empirical foundations of modern ecology and how changing the environment affects both the diversity and function of natural landscapes and our food, water, and health. "Students learn that the world is complex and interconnected, and that there's no separating humans from the natural world," Mordecai says.
Professor Mordecai was honored with the 2019 Walter J. Gores Award, “for engaging with students at a high level of intellectual intensity, respect and belief in their capabilities.” She was commended “for viewing teaching as an opportunity for students to explore complex topics at great depth” and “for imparting life lessons and encouraging students to dedicate themselves to their passion.” Mordecai was also honored “for being an inspiring role model for women in science.”