Graduate STEM Fellow Profile

Sierra Love Stowell

Project Title: Project Extremes
Thesis: Evolutionary History of Greenback Cutthroat Trout on Geologic and Anthropogenic Time Scales
College/University: University of Colorado Boulder
Research Advisor: Andrew Martin
Degree Sought: M.A./Ph.D.
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Research Focus: Conservation genetics, molecular phylogenetics, landscape ecology
Teaching Partner(s):

Description of Research

I am interested in how genes are distributed across the landscape and how they move through that landscape on different time scales. Specifically, I currently use genetics to ask how greenback cutthroat trout crossed the Continental Divide during the Last Glacial Maximum, how they are related to other subspecies of cutthroat trout, and how human movement of fish in the 20th century has affected modern populations. I hope to use this type of information to better inform conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species.

Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience

Since I am teaching in an 8th-grade physical science class and I study evolutionary biology, incorporating my research is a challenge. What I like to do is give biweekly mini-lessons on an ecological, physiological, or evolutionary topic that relates to chemistry or physics. For example, during the unit on phases of matter, I gave a lesson on animal adaptations for avoiding phase changes, i.e. what animals do to survive winter. More broadly, I try to integrate my research experience into my GK-12 experience by teaching the students to think scientifically and by showing them they can be scientists too.