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Center Alumni - Zachary Batz

Zachary Batz
August 2014, Mathematics


  • 2014 MST, Mathematics, University of Maine
  • 2012  B.S., Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh (Chemistry minor)

Advisor: Dr. Michelle K. Smith


Research:  Interested in science communication, public outreach, ecology, evolution, phylogenetics.

Bio: I was born in raised in Rochester, NY before leaving home to attend the University of Pittsburgh. While at Pitt I worked with Dr. Sam Donovan creating biology “problem spaces” for use in community colleges and high school courses. I am a second year MST student at the University of Maine working with Dr Michelle Smith. In the future I hope to continue on to doctoral studies in evolutionary biology. Other interests: racquetball, cooking and traveling.

Contributed by Zach’s advisor, Michelle Smith:
Zach Batz’s thesis research has made lasting changes in the School of Biology and Ecology.  Zach’s work focuses on how to help introductory biology students who are struggling in Biology 100.  With Jonathan Dumont and Dr. Farahad Dastoor, Zach designed a new program where students who fail the first Biology 100 exam are invited to weekly tutoring sessions run by Maine Learning Assistants.  Zach took the lead in designing the activities for these weekly tutoring sessions and studied the impact these tutoring sessions have on student motivation, online study habits, and perception of biology as a discipline.  Zach’s results show positive impacts in all these areas and notably students who participate in the tutoring program have historically low drop out rates (<2%).  Zach is also a gifted teacher.  He was awarded the Outstanding TA award in the School of Biology and Ecology for his work teaching and revising the Bio100 and 200 laboratory sections.  While participating in the Jackson Laboratory internship, he designed a high school biology curriculum unit on reading phylogenetic trees that he taught at Old Town High School.

In 2013, Zachary Batz was one of 6 winners of an SBE video contest, and will be making a video that highlights various aspects of the School of Biology and Ecology. For more information, click here.

Zach is starting a Ph.D. program in evolutionary biology and policy at Georgetown University in the fall.

Thesis: Reaching Struggling Introductory Biology Students with a Targeted Peer Tutoring Program
Defense: Batz Defense


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