Given Harper collaborates with fellow professors and students in research on the levels and patterns of organochlorine (such as DDT) and heavy metal contamination in birds and other wildlife, including North American gray wolves.
|Your hometown?||I grew up in Carlisle, Ky., which happens to be the same hometown where Barbara Kingsolver grew up. I am very good friends with Barbara's parents, who fostered my interest in birds when I was quite young.|
|Alma mater?||I received my B.S. in biology from Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., my M.S. in biology from Western Illinois University and my Ph.D. in biology from Illinois State University.|
|Why Wesleyan?||I was thrilled to have the chance to teach and work at a small, liberal arts institution. The opportunity to work with talented students and a strong sense of community make me want to stay at IWU.|
|Your teaching?||I teach an ecology segment in General Biology, Introductory Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecology and Environmental Problems, Biostatistics and Tropical Ecology (a May Term travel course to Costa Rica).|
|Your students?||It is truly a pleasure to work with very bright, highly motivated IWU students. They are the future of our society and I derive great satisfaction in helping to shape their perspectives about the world around them.|
|For fun?||I enjoy attending rock concerts with my 17-year old son.
I also enjoy watching birds (particularly the raptors – hawks, eagles, falcons and owls), terrestrial gardening (both for food and in using native vegetation to landscape our yard), water gardening and bicycle riding.
|The best?||Watching Willy Porter perform at the Blue Moon Coffeehouse. He is an extremely talented musician and I was seated in the front row, six feet away from him.|
|Favorite book?||A profound and sobering book that I read last year was Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond.|
|Favorite band?||I enjoy classic rock artists/bands such as Dan Fogelberg, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and U2. My son has introduced me to current acts such as My Morning Jacket and Ryan Adams.|
|Favorite movie?||To Kill a Mockingbird|
|Favorite quote?||"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." — Margaret Mead|
|Given Harper says he takes pleasure in watching students go on to attend graduate and professional schools, knowing they will make important contributions in solving some of the world's problems.|