Benjamin Nelson

Degree: Master’s in Biology, Concentration in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology

Advisor: Kimberly Tanner, PhD.


About Me

I am originally from El Cerrito, CA and graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010 with a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. While an undergraduate, I relentlessly explored the massive UCSC campus, taking in the natural history and botany around me.  Eventually I changed my major to biology (from social science) to start to try to answer the questions that kept permeating my thoughts.  I pursued classes that took me outside and realized I loved field biology.  After graduating I explored an interest that I hadn’t been able to before: education.  I began taking students on educational hikes throughout California with Naturalists at Large, then in North Carolina at the Don Lee Center.  I was sold on the power of education and continued my career at San Mateo Outdoor Education where I gained the role of Naturalist and led students on hikes as well as helped beginning teachers improve their teaching skills.  After 4 years I needed a new perspective and challenge and am at SEPAL to pursue a Master’s in Biology to in hopes that I can improve science education and eventually teach at the college level.  In my free time I enjoy playing basketball, going on hikes naturalizing as I go, and trying to find time to play games and make art.

Research Interests

While my research is yet undecided I do have a couple of focuses that I am eager to explore.  One is: what learning outcomes do non-biology students receive from a general education biology class.  My other interest is: what are the learning outcomes of students attending field courses.  I will keep this posted as my ideas and research unfold.