This post is by MSU postdoc Wendy Smythe.
Dr. Wendy F. Smythe is an environmental scientist who came to BEACON from CMOP who looks at how microbes influence their environment, by examining geochemistry, microbial ecology, microbial diversity, and biomineralization of iron and manganese oxidizing microorganisms. She also directs a Geoscience Education Program within her tribal community located in Southeast Alaska.
One of Wendy’s roles at BEACON will focus on outreach and diversity in STEM disciplines, with specific interest in recruitment and retention of Native American/Alaska Native into STEM. Wendy is Kaigani Haida from the Village of Hydaburg, Alaska and has worked for eight years to couple Traditional Ecological Knowledge with STEM in a culturally competent way to monitor the health of local rivers and coastal ecosystems. (For more info. Visit: http://sustainablesoutheast.net/category/communities/hydaburg/ and http://www.stccmop.org/education/k12/geoscience).
Wendy will also be continuing her previous research from Yellowstone National Park and Southeast, Alaska, by expanding her research focus to evolutionary biology of microorganisms from different research sites and analyzing metagenomes from two extreme metal rich groundwater ecosystems. This research blends evolution, microbiology, ecology, geochemistry, and education working with Dr. Judi Brown Clarke and Dr. Ashley Shade as her mentors.