My research interests focus on the intersection of science and visual communication. Two foci of current research projects include: 1) the historical analysis of images used in biology textbooks, and 2) the impact of those images on student learning.

Textbook Analysis
Textbooks document knowledge. They are used by faculty as a foundation for their lessons and, often, for their own understanding. An historical analysis of textbook content enables us to look into the past and see what experts and educators valued as important information to pass on to the next generation; we can use these data to understand our place in the continuum. 

Image Experimentation
We can manipulate distinct variables in educational figures. Then, by randomly assigning images to participants, we assess student conceptions based on their responses to a series of questions.



  • Invited Talk at Duke University (Dec 2018): Visualization Friday “Visual Design Traditions and their Disastrous Legacy”
  • Invited Talk at UNC-Asheville (Apr 2016): “Drawing for Science: Visuals that Educate, Communicate, and Inspire”
  • Coffee & Viz at Hunt Library (Oct 2015): “Drawing on the Unexpected (How Biological Illustration is Greater than the Sum of its Parts)”
  • Global Change Symposium (August 2015): “Non-science Majors’ Views on Climate Change Over Time”
  • GNSI Int’l Conference (July 2014): “Teaching Illustration as a Biology Course”
  • GNSI Int’l Conference (July 2013): “Biology, Folklore & Strange Images”
  • NARST Int’l Conference (April 2013): “Textbook Graphics of Cell Anatomy”


  • Provost’s Professional Experience Program funding for student research
  • Alt-Textbook (via NCSU libraries)
  • Interdisciplinary Course Development (with Dr. J. Lubischer)