Q&A with Erica Crespi

Erica Crespi.An associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, Erica Crespi is interested in how animals interact with the environment and understanding how early exposure to environmental conditions can alter behavior, growth, reproduction, and overall fitness during later life stages.

She thrives on engaging with students at all levels. She regularly mentors undergraduate and graduate students and is a member of WSU’s Teaching Academy. 

What classes do you teach at WSU?

Principles of Animal Development (Biol 321)
Biology of Women (Biol 307)
Synthesis of Independent Research (Biol 489)
Hormones, Brain and Behavior (Biol 559)

What is your main research topic?

“My research focuses on how the environment affects early development in animals from frogs and fish to people.”

What brought you to Pullman?

“A job! My husband is also a biologist and we were working at different institutions. We were lucky that both of us were able to find great positions at WSU.”

How has COVID-19 changed how you teach?

“For my smaller classes, I had to figure out how to inspire discussion and class participation using Zoom. Teaching courses with students connected via video conference in the past gave me confidence that with enough personal interaction, we could recreate an in-person class dynamic on Zoom. It just takes a bit longer to develop those connections, but taking the time to facilitate students getting to know each other on a personal level is time well spent. It’s actually much better than before because students from all campuses can participate in the course equally.

For my development class, it was challenging to create a lab experience that is as engaging as conducting experiments in person; but all the tools we needed students could download and use where ever, so it kind of worked … and I learned how to make YouTube videos that students can use to supplement lecture. I will always do that because the students really liked that.”

What is one “fun fact” about you?

I went to school for journalism! Turns out investigative reporting and science are not that different!

Learn more about her work on the Crespi Lab website

Top image: Erica Crespi

Adapted from WSU Pullman’s #FacultyFriday post on Facebook.