International Leadership Team


 

EvoKids is driven by grass-roots network of volunteers representing diverse roles in the global education community. We are researchers, teachers, NGO staff, parents, and students. Our International Leadership Team is working to build and share our vision for helping all schools and students engage the best quality and most meaningful evolution education early in their learning careers.

Belgium

Sofie Meeus

I’m an evolutionary biologist with broad research interests going from evolution of plant reproduction and pollination to speciation and plant breeding. Currently I’m working at the Institute of Agriculture and Fisheries (ILVO) of the Flemish Government in Belgium where we do research into sustainable agricultural practices. I’m enthusiastic about natural and artificial selection as our daily lives are filled with examples of both. As an international leadership team member of EvoKids I want to transfer this passion about evolution to kids in a way that is fun and exciting.

Janne Swaegers

I am currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Rolff Group of Evolutionary Biology at Freie Universität in Berlin. I am intrigued by the evolutionary consequences of global change as well as the underlying genetic mechanisms of evolution. Besides my research activities in these areas I am more and more interested in science education. I feel that the basic knowledge that everything on earth shares an evolutionary history can create a feeling of unity and connection with other human beings and nature in general. How life on earth has evolved and continues to change is such a rich story with a lot of potential to create a sense of wonder in young children. I don’t want anyone to miss out.

 

 

France

Anna Kondratyeva

Botanist and ecologist by education I am currently a PhD student at National museum of Natural History in Paris I’m interested in measuring biodiversity by species originality (phylogenetic and functional). Can we use phylogenetic originality as a proxy for functional originality, especially at local scale ? What mechanisms drives species assemblages ? Do they have the same effect at different scales ? Ok, I wrote pretty enough about my scientific interests…^^

But I’m not only working in research area. Actually, since 6 years I was working as an organizer in elementary schools and summer camps, trying to spread and share my naturalistic passions and scientific knowledge with kids. Currently I am working with a particular class (11-12 years old) teaching them evolution and classification of living beings in team with their classroom teacher.

I am really excited to work on such a project, to meet you guys, coming from all over the world with same ambitions.

Germany

Susan Hanisch, NGO Big Red Earth

Dr. Hanisch is an agricultural scientist by training who became fascinated with the potential of evolution education to help people of all ages understand the complex dynamics of sustainable development. She collaborates with Dustin Eirdosh and Dr. Josia Razafindamanana (also EvoKids Leadership Team Members) to develop innovative evolution education opportunities in Madagascar and Germany.

 

Greece


Evangelia Mavrikaki

Evangelia Mavrikaki is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Primary Education of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. She holds a PhD in biology and her research interests focus in Biology Teaching and Environmental and Health Education. She has served as a member of the editorial review board for the Journal of Elementary Science Education (since 2010 embedded in Journal of Science Teacher Education) and an elected member of the executive board of the Pan-Hellenic Association of BioScientists for 4 years, specializing mostly on the domain of Biology Education. She has authored or coauthored many articles or chapters in Greek and International Journals or books with the most recent being “Kapsala, N. & Mavrikaki, E. (in press). Storytelling as a Pedagogical Tool in Teaching Elements of the Nature of Science. In McComas (ed.), Second Edition of The Nature of Science in Science Education: Rationales and Strategies, Springer”, in which stories from the history of Science – among them the development of the idea of natural selection by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace – are used for teaching elements of NOS. Evangelia is also a co writer of the Greek school biology textbooks for grades 7th-9th and she has served as Project Leader or Senior Researcher in many Projects. Her work has received over 150 Greek and International citations. She is married to Argyris Kyridis and they have twin daughters. She loves basketball.

 

Italy

Giulia Devolved
Giulia Realdon

Biologist by education, I am retired Natural Sciences teacher, now volunteering full time as
informal science educator within a small Italian NGO.(www.scienzaunder18isontina.it).
Fascinated by the epistemological aspects of evolutionary theory and by science misconceptions, I am ending a PhD in “Teaching Earth Sciences” with a research on the understanding of geological time.

This is me, transformed into a H. erectus by means of “Devolve Me” software (Open University, https://www.open.ac.uk/darwin/devolve-me.php)

Madagascar


Josia Razafindramanana

Dr. Razafindramana is a professor of biology teacher education and anthropology for sustainability at the University of Antananarrivo, in the capital of Madagascar.

Portugal


Xana Sá Pinto

Xana Sá Pinto is the mother of two amazing and curious girls that always leave her astonished with their discoveries. In her spare time, she is also a biologist, passioned by biodiversity and evolutionary processes. Until 2015, her research career mostly focused on the study of evolution and speciation processes in marine species. But during her participation in an elementary school teacher training program, the smile and sparkle in the children’s eyes as they discovered something new made her realize how much she liked to teach science. Since then, she become increasingly interested and engaged with science education, participating and organising several evolution education and outreach projects. She is currently a researcher at the CIDTFF.UA and a lecturer at the PP.ESE, where she investigates the impacts of teaching evolution in the scientific literacy of elementary school students.

 

Bento Cavadas

creative lab logo.jpgBC.jpgI am a Professor at the Higher Education School of the Polytechnic Institute of Santarém.

I have a PhD in Education and one of my research interests is Didactics of Science.

Currently I’m working on interdisciplinary activities with Mathematics, using Inquiry-Based-learning and the 6E’ teaching model in new learning environments.

You can see some of the activities that I’m working on in CreativeLab_Sci&Math webpage:

Regarding evolution, I’m especially interested in the teaching of basic concepts of evolution to 6-10y students. Currently I’m working on an activity named The charming Pitchuko with Xana Sá-Pinto … Soon you will have news from us! 😉

 

Spain

Roberto Torres_gray.jpg
Roberto Torres

I am a multidisciplinary communicator, with a long and successful career in advertising, marketing and graphic science communication. I am currently responsible for the communication of the outreach science project “Science in Your World” in Barcelona. As part of this project, I have worked for for several Science Institutes, inled the design., implementation and evaluation of educational activities, both onsite and virtual, audiovisuals, and the development of interactive learning materials and multimedia content to promote the understanding of Evolution. I am interested in facilitating to the public at large, the understanding of biology, diversity, and evolution, and how to apply this knowledge in people’s daily life.

 


Elena Arriero

I am Assistant Professor at the Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, University Complutense of Madrid, Spain.

I am broadly interested in Evolutionary Biology and Immunoecology. In particular, my research aims to a functional understanding of the role of parasitism in the evolution of life histories. I try to understand links between life history traits and mechanisms of disease resistance, in particular the immune system. My model system are birds, a particularly suitable taxon to test hypotheses about host-parasite interactions, life history trade-offs and immunoecology, given the existing knowledge. My research focusses on comparative studies of immunoecology in tropical and temperate birds, in understanding the role of migratory birds in the spread of diseases, and in exploring the mechanisms that make different individuals of the same species differ in how they cope with diseases in their natural environment.

 

Turkey


Özgul Yahyaoglu

I graduated from my bachelor with major in biology and minor in anthropology. Currently, I am attending PhD courses on the field of evolutionary ecology. I am a member of Eastern Mediterranean Reasearch Accociation and fostering evolution education in Turkey is one of our main objectives.

 

 

Pınar Güler

I graduated from bachelor and master in Biology, Ankara. My major field is evolutionary ecology. Now I am doing my PhD In the same area in University of Groningen. I was an active person to be able to teach public on evolution during my education in Turkey because this concept is still under trouble in our country. With this need and worry, I am willing to be develop ”évolution education and sustainable life awareness” in my country and whole world. I am also the member of Eastern Mediterranean Reasearch Accociation.

Nazlı Ayhan

I graduated from Biology and minor Anthropology. I did my master in Evolutionary Biology and currently, I am doing PhD in Aix-Marseille University on vector-borne viruses. During my bachelor and master studies, I have participated a number of evolution congress and workshops and I took a role in organizing a couple of them. Like Ozgul and Pinar, I am also a member of Eastern Mediterranean Research Association.

I think it is really important to have an international organization like EvoKids to be able to increase the knowledge on Evolutionary Biology.

USA


Dustin Eirdosh

I am a doctoral candidate in Biology Education (Teacher Training) at the University of Leipzig in Germany, and also co-founder of the NGO Big Red Earth – focused on using evolution education for international teacher training in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Sustainability is about processess of change, and evolution is the science of change. I use evolutionary theory to connect knowledge across disciplines to help students understand the nature of human behaviors and our specieis capacity for individual and community change towards more preferable futures. Engaging students in evolution education from the earliest grade levels offers educators a powerful common toolkit to help students develop the kind of networked cummulative learning needed to solve the wicked problems of the 21st century.

 

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