Daniel Howard

graduate student profile

Daniel Howard

2007 Ph.D. Biological Sciences

Both professionally and academically, Daniel has applied an inexhaustible curiosity and energy to his understanding of biology and education for the benefit of environmental concerns and the Native American community. Following the completion of his bachelor's and master's degrees at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Daniel chose to continue his doctoral studies at TU for a number of reasons. In addition to TU's excellent academic reputation and research support infrastructure, he was also eager to work with Dr. Peggy Hill. Their shared interests in behavioral ecology and secondary science teaching methods cemented a stellar academic relationship that continued all the way through Daniel's dissertation research.

Ecological explorations

Daniel's area of expertise involves the evolution of acoustic and vibration communication in insects, as well sexual selection and the effects of landscape disturbance on insect behavior. Since graduating in 2007, Daniel has completed an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Toronto and was hired as an Assistant Professor in Biology at Augustana College in 2011.

The switch from full-time researcher to faculty member has been an enjoyable experience for Daniel, as teaching remains one of his passions. "My experiences at TU have proven especially important as I transition into a faculty position at an academic institution where men- torship to students is especially valued," Daniel explains. "Along with the rigorous scientific training I received, TU has prepared me well in this regards."

Despite the move to a full-time faculty position, Daniel remains active on the research front. Prior to starting his NSF Research Fellowship at the University of Toronto, Daniel began studying the sensory ecology of several rare insect species found on isolated islands in the Cook Strait of New Zealand. His research focuses on how vibrational communication has evolved as a preferred mode of communication. Working in New Zealand has been an incredibly enriching experience for Daniel and one that he hopes to continue to develop.

Scholastic developments

Joining the faculty of Augustana College has switched Daniel's focus from external research to a more academic setting. Over the next 5-10 years, Daniel will be focusing on establishing his own research laboratory, mentoring students, and developing his selection of coursework in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He also plans to continue developing programs aimed at expanding opportunities in the sciences among under-represented student groups.