Terri Matiella, Ph.D., Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology
What did your journey to UTSA look like?
I am four-time alumni of UTSA. I transferred to UTSA to complete my B.S. in Biology in 2000, then later came back for an M.S. in Environmental Science, which I completed in 2008. After graduation, I went into the Ph.D. program for Environmental Science and Engineering and was awarded my doctorate in 2012. I was hired as full-time faculty in the Environmental Science program in 2013.
After teaching for a few years, I decided I could learn more about teaching and learning and enrolled as a master’s student for an M.A. in Education with a concentration on Curriculum and Instruction. I finished my M.A. in 2019 and learned so much about furthering my career as an educator!
What do you enjoy most about your area of study?
I really enjoy the interaction of the biotic and abiotic environment. I enjoy studying plant and animal adaptations, and how these are changing due to climate change. My graduate research focused on monarch butterflies and the food source for the caterpillars, which is milkweed plants. I studied how elevated carbon dioxide changed the chemicals of the plants the caterpillars ingest and use for nutrition and defense.
What is your proudest moment with the COS?
I have had some great moments with COS. Among them has been the opportunity to serve as the Assistant Dean for Remote Instruction and work with department Faculty Champions to help faculty with the challenges of remote instruction and promote best practices in online instruction. I feel this is an area where COS can become a leader in developing and promoting engaging STEM courses online. We have a great team!
Another great moment was developing the joint COS/Honors program with Dr. Hector Aguilar in Chemistry. We accepted out first cohort of 50 students last fall in 2020 and will have our second cohort this fall in 2021. We hope to grow the program to give those students a rich learning experience that benefits them with COS experiences as they complete their Honors College program.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy teaching our ES 2013 Introduction to Environmental Science — a course I love so much! It’s awesome when students say they are really interested in what we are discussing, or are thinking about our impact on the environment and how we can make changes to be more sustainable in our daily actions. I hope they take those messages forward and continue to have a positive impact on the world! I always tell them whatever their major is, they are all part of the environment and encourage them to think about how they can use their major to help address environmental issues.
How would you spend your ideal Saturday?
My ideal Saturday would be laying in my hammock on a nice day and reading!
What are your book recommendations?
I love to read, and always have a book nearby. Some of my favorites right now are The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, the Naturalist Series by Andrew Mayne, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, and anything by Stephen King.