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Improv for Professors Workshop Facilitators

Laura Shum pictureLaura Shum is a PhD candidate at the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Rochester, where she studies how skeletal stem cell metabolism affects bone health. Her hobbies include translational science, nutritional nerdery, and the occasional heavy barbell, while her communication credentials include bringing the Three Minute Thesis competition to Rochester, co-developing a science communication course for graduate students, and attempting to wrangle the writing skills of aspiring undergraduate scientists.


Roger Dube pictureRoger Dube received his Bachelor’s degree in physics from Cornell University, and his PhD from Princeton University, completing his thesis in the Gravity Group. He joined RIT as a Research Professor in 2008, teaching and conducting research in cosmology, space weather, artificial intelligence, computer security, and Native American science. Roger is the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Research within the RIT College of Science, is an active improviser with shows in the Rochester Fringe Festival and national Improv events in Pittsburgh, Providence, Washington DC and Baltimore. He is the faculty mentor for RIT Improv and spends free time trying to train his two young dogs.


Tracey Baas pictureTracey Baas has unusually broad research experience, receiving her PhD in Chemistry and subsequent postdoctoral training in Microbiology and Systems Biology.  She subsequently worked as Associate and Senior Editor for several years at Science-Business eXchange  - a publication of Nature Publishing Group - prior to joining the UR.  She personally exemplifies the kind of career path the URBEST program supports and encourages, and is currently an Assistant Professor at UR SMD. To say she loves science communication is an understatement. She started by practicing on her parents as an undergraduate and slowly expanded her audience. Improv? Definitely, yes. That’s how she managed to create and maneuver that wild, winding career path and offer council for others to do the same.


Derek Crowe pictureDerek Crowe is a biologist in the Biomedical Genetics department at the University of Rochester, where he studies cancer with Hartmut Land. Derek trained as an engineer throughout his undergraduate career (also at the UR) where he was a member of the campus improv troupe, In Between the Lines. Before starting his graduate career, Derek worked as a freelance communication designer, web developer, and printer. His favorite projects involve play, nonsense, and well-defined constraints. Derek avoids disciplinary thinking and laughs at things that make fun of themselves. He plays a lot of sports.


Dina Markowitz pictureDina Markowitz received her PhD in molecular genetics from Columbia University, and dabbled in postdocs at the University of Pennsylvania and at SmithKline Beecham Corp., before leaving the lab bench for a career in science education and outreach.   She has been at URMC since 1995 and is the founder and Director of the UR’s Life Sciences Learning Center, a hands-on science education center that offers a wide variety of programs for local middle and high school students and professional development programs for science teachers throughout the US.  She is also the founder and President of Science Take-Out, a URMC start-up company that creates and manufactures science kits.


Heidi Roop pictureHeidi Roop is a climate scientist and science communicator with interests in increasing the reach and impact of researcher-led science communication efforts. She is currently the Strategic Communications Lead with the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group in Seattle. An instructor with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Heidi has also worked with NASA, the National Science Foundation and several international organizations to develop public engagement trainings and products. Her scientific research focuses on reconstructing detailed records of past climate from the polar regions. Heidi splits her time between Seattle and Rochester. In her spare time, she enjoys long trail runs and bike rides with her adventurous border collie, Kuna.

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Summer Hours
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Holiday hours


The Wallace Library
Room A-600
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623

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Phone: +1 585.475.2551



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