USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellow
Biomechanist, Physiologist, Entomologist
insect wings, hydraulics, flight
I have taught and guest lectured in Evolution and Human Physiology and Anatomy and Comparative Biomechanics. My background is in biology and I feel comfortable with this material.
Working frequently with insects, I regularly teach my students about insect physiology. I have guest lectured in Insect Structure and Function, and taught entomology in my "Insect Inspired" design courses.
With a background in applied math, and a focus in insect biomechanics, I regularly use foundations of physics, calculus, and engineering principles to understand biological flows and animal locomotion
Building intuition through hands-on experience
In science, things are not always straightforward. However, one of my goals is to equip you with skills to confront confusing aspects of science and find an answer. This research relationship thus requires that you ask questions, and ask them often! I wrote an "Expectations" document to start making the training process more clear. Find it here.
Summer 2015 (left) - Dr. Lori Shapiro explains the basics of catching insects in the field to a group of high school teachers at the Concord Field Station Teacher Workshop.
Engaging the community
As an organizer and teacher, my goals are to bring experiences to curious minds. In 2015 I coordinated with Harvard's Life Sciences Outreach Program to lead a 2-day workshop for professional development credit for local Massachusetts high school teachers.
Cross-disciplinary, this work involved graduate students and postdocs to teach lessons in aquatic ecology, entomology, and insect biomechanics. A bee-keeping course was introduced leading multiple teachers to start keeping bees for the first time.
Summer 2015 (right) - A group of high school teachers observe honeybees for the first time and take turns holding bee frames from Dr. Jake Peter's bee yard
In my courses, I want my students to come away with new skills, confidence in their abilities, and an understanding of the scientific process. Specifically, that there IS a process, and just because you don’t get it the first time, doesn’t mean you can’t get it. We’ll just try again.
June 2018 - Dr. Salcedo with her Harvard PreCollege class making silly faces with final projects, insect nets, and gliders.
In 2017 and 2018, I designed a new course for Harvard's Summer PreCollege Program. The course "Comparative Biomechanics and Physiology: Designing Insect-Inspired Gliders" led students on a journey to observe, make, test, and modify gliders based directly on hands-on experience with entomological museum collections, dissections, and catching insects. It was then students were introduced to fundamental projectile motion, mechanical testing, and wind tunnel tests. Students thus have opportunities to connect their hypotheses directly to their organism, blending math, biology, and physics.
June 2017 - A view into the entomology collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. On the first day of class, students were asked to draw insects, their appendages, and take detailed notes for future hypotheses.
June 2018 - Students testing gliders outside of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. Tests were performed frequently to ensure their gliders flew like their chosen study insect (and because it was very fun).
Foundations of Bioinspiration
In June 2020, I designed and co-taught a Cornell PreCollege Summer course on "Building intuition: Bioinspiration and foundations of design in biological systems." Taught asynchronously with students from around the world, we reviewed published bio-inspired technologies, lectured on foundational biology and mathematical principles, and interviewed scientists.
June 2020 - An example of Dr(s) Salcedo and Peters lecturing on "Running Principles" using a video-recording feature called Loom. All lectures began with biological concepts and paired with technology examples.
My co-teacher and collaborator (honeybee swarm project), Dr. Jacob Peters is a postdoctoral researcher in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Cornell University. He studies the collective behavior, thermoregulation, and scenting behaviors of honeybees. His field expertise, biomechanics knowledge, animal behavior experience, and electronics capabilities were essential in making this biology-technology course possible.