I research biological information, or the way biologists have used and continue to use information-like concepts to gather knowledge about the living world. Information has had a formal mathematical definition since Claude Shannon’s work in the late 1940’s, but researchers have conceived of information many different ways before and since, and biologists seem to utilize many of those conceptions in their work. I am especially interested in how biologists use intentional or semantic conceptions of information in the field of animal behavior. My current research focuses on the informational concepts used in eusocial insect behavior research. More generally, my interests lie at the intersection of philosophy, biology, cognitive science, and anything involving the word “information”.
Arizona State University - School of Life Sciences - Center for Biology & Society
Arizona State University - Barrett, The Honors College
· B.A., Philosophy
· B.A., Anthropology
· Minor, Linguistics
Honors Thesis: Empathizing with Fictional Characters
I research biological information, or the way biologists have used and continue to use information-like concepts. I am especially interested in how biologists use intentionality or semanticity in their explanations of organism level phenomena. I pursue my research using both historical and philosophical perspectives.
In my historical research, I look at how social insect researchers have used information-like concepts to explain social insect behavior. I ask questions about how researchers have used information-like concepts, how those concepts have changed, and whether certain concepts of information tend to lead to certain results. I want to learn how ethological practice constrained researchers’ philosophical commitments about information and how researchers’ philosophical commitments about information constrained their ethological practice.
In my philosophical research, I engage with debates in philosophy of biology surrounding biological information. In general, I am interested in building an account of how biologists use intentional conceptions of information in their work.
For the computational aspects of my research, I work with Dr. Manfred Laubichler's computational history and philosophy of science lab.
Peer Reviewed Publications
2017 “Bert Hölldobler (1936–)” Embryo Project Encyclopedia
2017 “‘Altruism and the Origin of the Worker Caste’ from The Ants (1990), by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson” Embryo Project Encyclopedia
2017 “Ameisen- Die heimliche Weltmacht (Ants- Nature’s Secret Power) (2004)” Embryo Project Encyclopedia
2017 “Christian Peeters and Bert Hölldobler's Experiments on Reprodcution in Indain Jumping Ants (1991-1994)” Embryo Project Encyclopedia
2017 "Testing the Kin Selection Theory: Who Controls the Investments?" from The Ants (1990), by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson" Embryo Project Encyclopedia
2017 “How Ants Can Help Solve the Mystery of Intentionality” The Daily Ant.
2016 “The Fictional Age” Issues in Science and Technology
|Course Number||Course Title|
|HON 497||Honors Colloquium|
2016 Spring and 2017 Fall
Biology 591: The Embryo Project Writing Seminar
Biology 201: Human Anatomy/Physiology
Lead Instructor of two lab sections
2017: College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Graduate Excellence Award
2016 - 2019: Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow
2015: Winner of Issues in Science & Technology Magazine’s Science Fiction Contest
2014: Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University
2014: Moeur Award for Academic Excellence
2013: 1st Place in Arizona State University’s Annual Philosophy Essay Contest
2012: 1st Place in Douglas G. Arner Academic Freedom Essay Contest
Summer 2015: Assistant Editor for Dr. Paul Cassell’s Book, Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning: Beyond Durkheim and Rappaport
Summer 2017: Editor for the Embryo Project Encyclopedia
Advisor/ Committee Chair: Beckett Sterner Dissertation Committee: Jane Maienschein, Manfred Laubichler, Stephen Pratt, and Colin Allen.
2017-Present: Volunteer for School of Life Sciences Prison Biology Project- Teaching introductory college-level biology to prisoners in Florence, Arizona.