About Me

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Christina Silliman

My passion is community engagement – making a positive and sustainable impact on all networks within our community.  I have been focused on ways to broaden the impact of academics, distilling complex concepts into engaging ideas that resonate with their target audience.  I am looking to make an impact, and am open to new avenues of pursuing this goal.

I am just finishing my Master’s in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction through the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  I research science literacy: what it is, and what it means for public understanding of science.  While my thesis is mostly theoretical, I’m extremely interested in what these theoretical ideas of “scientific literacy” (believe me, there are a TON) mean for public perception of science and how scientific ideas are disseminated to the public.  In short, what does this mean for you?

Before this, I completed my Master’s in Entomology, focusing on longhorn beetle (Coleoptera:Cerambycidae) chemical ecology, specifically what kind of information the waxy outer layer on their exoskeleton can provide.  These waxy contact pheromones are known to elicit copulation only when the males find a female of the correct species.  We’re finding more evidence that this wax layer changes with age, reproductive status, and perhaps even size.  I would like to know if these changes will affect mating success of females.  You can read more about my longhorn beetle research here!

 Education and Outreach

A fellow entomology graduate student and myself have developed inquiry-based entomology lessons for elementary students that adhere to the Next Generation Science Standards.  These standards aim to integrate the engineering design cycle with other fields of science and promote an inquiry-based approach to the fields of science.  We’re working with local school districts through the program EnLiST, which aims to pair teachers with experts in their fields to create rigorous and sustainable lessons.

We love to share our lessons and often have workshops and talks on the docket.  We have also developed a lesson kit that can be used in the classroom or educational center free of charge!! As always, we can send you a CD with any or all of our lessons.

Email if you’d like lessons, materials, or a couple of willing presenters to learn all about how to integrate live insects and engineering into your science curriculum!


Past Adventures

A few fellow graduate students and myself organized a program symposium for the 2013 Entomological Society of America national meeting.  We opened a dialogue with scientists across the country, and across the seas, to discuss the most effective ways to broaden our impacts as scientists.  Our aim was to provide a centralized resource with tangible ways scientists can integrate outreach programs into their own research.   We boiled four hours of amazing talks down to a 25 minute presentation at the 2014 ESA National Meeting in Portland….please ask if you want transcripts or a short blurb!


Contact Christina at chansium [at] gmail [dot] com or on twitter @insectosoris



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