Posted on August 4, 2022
Please join the Department of Biology in welcoming the following new faculty and staff members:
Dr. Gwen Robbins Schug is a new professor in the Department of Biology at UNCG. Dr. Robbins Schug is a bioarchaeologist. She uses human skeletal remains from archaeological sites to address questions about biocultural evolution in the Holocene. She will be teaching BIO 111 and upper level courses in Evolutionary Medicine, Climate Change and Human Health, and Human Biological Variation. Her primary research focuses on how history, society, and culture guide human responses to crisis and adaptive challenges, such as climate and environmental change in the past, the rise of urbanism and structural inequality, and epidemiological transitions and past pandemics. Dr. Robbins Schug has done field work in India, Oman, and Italy on these topics. She is also interested in the ethics of human skeletal collections, their origins, curation, and use in teaching and research.
Her first Ph.D. student, Chaunesey Clemmons, is arriving in spring 2023 and they will be working together on developing ethical practice for unprovenanced human remains from African American historic cemeteries. Dr. Robbins Schug has around 40 publications, including three books: The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Climate and Environmental Change (2020), A Companion to South Asia in the Past (2016), and Bioarchaeology and Climate Change (2011). She is the co-Editor-in-Chief of Bioarchaeology International and an academic editor at PLOS One. She is a mother to four children, three dogs, two cats, and welcomed her first grandchild in 2022.
Dr. Kimberly Komatsu, Associate Professor and Florence Schaeffer Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Komatsu is a global change ecologist, specializing in community ecology of grassland, forest, and agricultural systems. Kim investigates how communities of plant, insect, and bacterial species interact and the consequences of nutrient pollution, drought, and increased atmospheric CO2 for the important services that these systems provide to humans, such as food production and carbon sequestration. Kim is excited to teach courses related to global change, trophic ecology, and communications skills to share these important topics with the public.
Dr. Kevin Wilcox, Associate Professor: Dr. Wilcox grew up in the Pacific Northwest and became obsessed early with the spongy-floored forests of the Cascade Mountains. Since then, he has traveled and worked in a wide variety of ecosystems, including tropical rainforests of Puerto Rico, short, mixed, and tallgrass prairies of the US Great Plains, and savannas of South Africa. His research program focuses on building predictive capacity about ecosystem states in a future that holds more frequent and extreme climatic events and increasing human land use. His lab group does this using a combination of long-term observations of ecosystems, global change experiments, and computational tools, such as computer-driven ecological simulations. His teaching interests revolve around vegetation ecology – he is a huge plant nerd and enjoys teaching others about the spectacular diversity of plants that inhabit Earth!
Patty Booker – Welcome our new Business Officer. Patty Booker began her UNCG career in 1997. She was awarded the UNCG Staff Excellence Award for her contributions to UNCG and the Piedmont Triad teaching companion and landscape gardening, food storage and emergency planning, DIY projects, and ESL literacy program awareness. She is happily married, has four grown children (grandchildren), and enjoys the beach, nature, gardening, remodeling, painting, and bird watching.
Page Turner – Welcome our new Administrative Support Associate! Page graduated from UNCG with her Biology degree in May 2022 after working as an undergraduate researcher in both the Biology Department and the School of Education. She’s an educator, researcher, naturalist, artist, musician, scientist, and outdoor enthusiast.