2017 Guest Lecture Biographies

Mike Gil received his Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at the University of Florida in the fall of 2015 and started a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of California, Davis in March 2016. Dr. Gil uses empirical data from field studies combined with modeling approaches to better understand the ecological consequences of species interactions in a human- dominated world. In addition to his research, based primarily in French Polynesia, Mexico, and Thailand, Dr. Gil has broad interests in connecting the public with the process of scientific discovery and all that it offers humankind. To read more about his mass science communication efforts, visit SciAll.org

Benji Haselhurst is a senior designer at Parisleaf, a design agency specializing in branding and identity. He has worked with non-profits, universities, startups, record labels, restaurants and breweries to help loft good ideas and craft messages worth repeating. He advocates for clarity and simplicity in design, empathy with the audience, and thinking pragmatically about the way people interact with design.

Charlotte Kesl is a documentary photographer who has worked for humanitarian organizations in East and West Africa and South America since 2008. Her work in post-conflict countries focuses on public health, girl education and women's issues. She helped launch Project Cordillera, a sustainable adventure tourism company in Peru in 2014 and is an instructor for international photography workshops for Momenta Workshops. She has a Masters from the London School of Economics in Media, Communication and Development and a BA from American University in Washington, DC.

Andrea Lucky is an evolutionary biologist and biodiversity scientist with a focus on insects, specifically the evolution of ants. Her research program focuses on two main themes:

  1. insect evolution and biodiversity

  2. science communication with non-scientific audiences

Research in the Lucky Lab addresses fundamental questions about evolutionary relationships among different ant lineages and the timing of dispersal and diversification that has led to the distribution patterns we see today. The approach to answering these questions involves tools such as insect morphology to molecular genetics to phylogenetic statistics. In combination with these research interests, Dr. Lucky uses citizen science as a tool to involve the public in research about native and invasive insects, and to teach about science in general. A major goal of these projects is to make the process of ‘doing’ science accessible to non-scientists.

Annie Neimand is the research director and digital strategist for frank, an industry organization for people who use strategic communication to drive change, housed in the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. She is a Ph.D candidate in the University of Florida Department of Sociology, where she studies public interest communications. Her writing has appeared in Stanford Social Innovation ReviewThe ConversationSalonNewsweekThe Huffington Post, among others. Annie is also part of the frank Academy team that trains scientists, leaders, and nonprofit communicators to explain the value of their work and why it matters to key communities.

Eric Segal is Director of Education and Curator of Academic Programs at University of Florida’s Harn Museum of Art. In Spring 2016, he co-curated, “Framing Nature: The Living World in Art,” which brought together more than 100 works of art that offer challenging and enriching perspectives on how we see and understand the natural world through the eyes of artists and makers from across time, places and cultures.

Jon Spoelhof is a third-year PhD student in the Florida Museum of Natural History whose researchexplores the origins and consequences of polyploidy in plants. His projects include an experiment that probes the effects of polyploidy on fertility and adaption in the genus Arabidopsis and analyses of the global relationship between polyploidy and biodiversity.  Jon’s obsession with polyploidy is a recent distraction from his prior obsession with audio, which he discovered by abusing a tape deck and a broken microphone in 1999. 

Randy Singer is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Natural Resources and Environment who PhD project uses digitized data and biological specimens to explore ways to effectively communicate natural history collections importance to the greater scientific community and beyond. Concurrently, Randy is an ichthyologist and works on systematics and biogeography of Southeast Asian loaches and deep sea fishes which has allowed him the travel all across Southeast Asia in person and to the deepest depths of the ocean virtually through the use of remote operated vehicles (ROVs) to explore and document new fishes. Randy has broad interests outside of ichthyology that include making digital music, amateur films and communicating science to the public through any means necessary!