Crystal is a Senior Lecturer and Biology Majors Lab Coordinator for General Biology as well as a Research Assistant Professor in Microbiology. She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology at UT where she studied Nitrogen Fixation in Legumes and focused on their symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria in the genera Rhizobium. She discovered her love for teaching as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) and has been teaching ever since! Her passion for teaching centers around active learning pedagogies and creating a comfortable, open learning environment where students truly feel open to sharing ideas and discussing concepts.
After her Ph.D. work, she taught at Maryville College and Pellissippi State Technical Community College for a total of eight years before coming back to UT in 2011. Since returning, she has participated in curriculum reform in both majors and non-majors courses as well as taken on the lead role in development and implementation of a new, non-majors course on disease, Biology 105. She teaches both majors and non-majors biology as well. In Fall, she teaches introductory biology to majors (BIOL 160) and in Spring, she teaches introductory biology to non-majors (BIOL105). Other areas of interest include professional development for graduate teaching assistants and student retention and success in STEM courses.