Girls Raised In Tennessee Science

Faces of Tennessee Women in STEM

Dr. Kim Sadler Associate Professor, Biology

Middle Tennessee State University

1) How did you become interested in math or science field while at high school? I have to tell you that I did not like high school at all because I never felt like I fit in. My Dad was an Air Force pilot; he retired in the middle of my sophomore year in high school and that was the first time in my life I went to a school that was not primarily military kids. With that said, the 'seeds of science' were planted by my ecology teacher. We did so many neat things in her class that I still remember such as quadrat analysis, ecological footprint calculations, and research on environmental issues.

2) Why did you choose to work in your field? For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by plants and I enjoy watching them grow (I know, geek factor of 100). I currently work in life science education but plants are still near and dear to my heart. My biggest inspiration came from my Dad, who loved to photograph plants and stop the family station wagon to look at something blooming by the side of the road.

3) What are some areas of your job that you like the most? I like working with students and like-minded colleagues. They are my greatest source of encouragement and inspiration.

4) What one thing would you tell a middle or high school girl who is considering majoring in STEM in college? I would tell a young woman to NEVER give up and to stay the course and to always remember that the turtle wins the race in Aesop's fables!

4) Please provide a short biography and a photo.

I am an associate professor of biology at Middle Tennessee State University, teaching primarily non-major’s courses. I joined the faculty on a tenure-track position the Fall of 2002 but have served as a fulltime/adjunct instructor since 1989. I have an undergraduate degree in biology, a master’s degree in plant ecology, and a doctorate in science education. In addition to teaching non-majors biology courses, I serve as director for the Center for Cedar Glade Studies and have also served as a program consultant with the department of biology's Center for Environmental Education since 1992. I am a facilitator-trainer for Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, and Project WET and conduct numerous workshops related to life and environmental science for teacher development programs. My current research interests are pedagogical questions related to informal learning environments and student attitude; university student learning and attitude in large classes; and the impact of field ecology research experiences on elementary student attitude and knowledge. Other research areas are mistletoe host-specificity dynamics and plant ecology of the cedar glades.

My husband, Jay, and I celebrate 29 years of marriage this year. We have two sons that fill our life with joy. I love to garden, hike, play tennis, and cook dinner with friends.

5) What is your contact information? (Phone number or email address) This is optional. 615.904.8283 and ksadler@mtsu.edu

6) Would you like to correspond with a high school girl who is interested in entering your field? Yes - it would be an honor.