Teaching and Outreach

University Teaching

BIOL 321HE: Human Evolution

Mount Holyoke College

In this seminar we explore ~6 million years of human evolutionary history.  Key questions include: Why are we built the way we are? What are the biological characteristics that make us different from our primate relatives? What do we know about the hominin species that preceded Homo sapiens?  How is our evolved biology mismatched with our modern environment, and what can we do about it? We will engage with these questions via readings (including primary scientific literature), discussion, writing assignments, and lecture.

Taught Spring Semester 2021

Anthropology 191: First Year Seminar - The Human Species

University of Massachusetts

In this course first-year students explore fundamental ideas in biological anthropology through hands-on labs, and discuss academic and personal skills needed for college success.  This small class format (19 students maximum) is intended to help students foster meaningful connections during their first semester at college.

Taught Fall Semesters 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Anthropology 103: Human Origins and Variation

University of Massachusetts University Without Walls

An introduction to the field of biological anthropology: human evolution, human biological variation, primate evolution and diversity.

Taught 2014-2018

Guest Lectures

I give occasional guest lectures on the subjects of human evolution, the evolution of endurance running, and the evolution of human sweating.  Recently I have presented guest lectures to: Human Origins and Variation (UMass, 2019), Human Evolution (UMass, 2020), Race and Biology (Mount Holyoke College, 2017, 2018, 2020), and Introduction to Biology (Mount Holyoke College, 2020).

High School Teaching

Since 2006 I have taught 9th and 10th grade biology, first in Connecticut (2006) and then in Massachusetts (2007-present).  In addition to surveying the main subfields of biology and preparing students for the MCAS Biology test, students engage in evolutionary theory at a deeper level than at most high schools, including a unit on human evolution.  As of 2019, only a handful of states include human evolution in the biology teaching standards.  Massachusetts is not among them and I feel strongly that this is a glaring omission from most states' curricula.

Outreach and Public Lectures

Lecture: "Beating the heat: How sweating helped make us human". Mount Holyoke College Biological Sciences Seminar Series, March 2020. video

Podcast guest: "How humans evolved to sweat". Let's Talk About Sweat, episode 3.  April 2020. video

Lecture: "Beating the heat: How sweating helped make us human". Waikato Institute of Technology Research Bytes Seminar Series. April 2020. video

Lecture: "Endurance Running and Human Evolution". Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club annual dinner, 2016.

I'm Drew - a high school biology teacher and endurance athlete who decided to become a scientist. I am currently a PhD candidate in biological anthropology at the University of Massachusetts where I study human evolutionary physiology.

 

You can reach me at: 

abest@umass.edu

 

  • running+biking, some science
  • science