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Faculty Highlight: Herpetologist and Urban Ecologist
By: Lexi Neukirch
Dr. Steve Price
has influenced many NRES students during his three years at UK, often through connections initially made with students through courses he teaches. He teaches Herpetology (FOR 510) every spring semester, Urban Ecology (FOR 540) alternating fall semesters including Fall 2016, and soon-to-be offered Freshwater Ecology (FOR 530) alternating Fall semesters beginning Fall 2017, as well as NRES camp in Costa Rica with co-instructor Rob Paratley. When asked about his teaching, Dr. Price said: “My best experience involved co-leading the NRES camp in Costa Rica. The students learned so much about conservation biology, sustainability, biodiversity, tropical ecology, etc. There’s nothing more exciting than night hikes through the rainforest at La Selva Biological Station. Also, I worked alongside an awesome teacher [Rob Paratley] who taught me a lot about instruction and professionalism. Many of the students in the Costa Rica class enrolled in my other courses and several participated in independent study in my lab.” Before becoming the Assistant Professor of Stream and Riparian Ecology at UK, Dr. Price earned his B.S in both Biology and Environmental Science, followed by an MS degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. As a student he gained experience working for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Richter Museum in Green Bay, the Milwaukee Public Museum, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Wake Forest University in 2011 while working at Davidson College in North Carolina as a research coordinator, adjunct teaching faculty member, and then, with PhD degree in hand, as
a post-doctoral fellow. Interested in finding a tenure track faculty position in the southeastern US, Dr. Price was thrilled to come to the University of Kentucky in 2012 where he could work with his focal species, reptiles and amphibians. He enjoys the opportunity to work with students and faculty in a department that values applied research. While a faculty position comes with many responsibilities and opportunities, Dr. Price’s first passion is working with students on research projects: “I love teaching students the art (i.e., asking interested questions, study design, analysis, etc.) of conducting a scientific investigation.” Dr. Price’s strongest advice to students is to work hard, take school seriously, and always seek out and take advantage of opportunities. He recommends that students get to know NRES faculty, and gain experience in a lab setting if possible. While Dr. Price enhances the lives of all of his students through classes, camp, and research, he is also the father of four boys, which he says is his most important and time-consuming job. To learn more about the Dr. Price’s work visit: http://nres.ca.uky.edu/PriceLab.
Pictured above: (top) Dr. Price feeding a green iguana potato chips during the NRES field course in Costa Rica; (bottom left) Dr. Price holding a hellbender, an imperiled salamander found in Kentucky streams and rivers; (bottom right) Dr. Price showing a frog to students in Costa Rica.
Published on Mar 10, 2016