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Gregory James Smith, Ph.D.
Interdisciplinary Science and Research Program
John Overton High School
4820 Franklin Rd.
Nashville, TN 37220


February 2021: My colleague, Dr. Nathaniel Freymeyer, and I were awarded funding to develop a project-based exercise science unit for ISR! The project relies on Polar heart rate monitors and PBLs to teach students about metabolism and individual cardiovascular physiology. This was the second year in a row being awarded a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

November 2020: The Vanderbilt Microbiome Venture Fund has awarded us $2000 to investigate fecal coliform bacteria at Seven Mile Creek in Nashville, TN!

February 2020: I was awarded funding to build a community garden and outdoor classroom at JOHS! The grant was funded by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and will help establish an "EcoTeam" club at our school focused on sustainability, composting, and outreach.

January 2020: The second chapter of my Ph.D. was accepted to Paleobiology! We find evidence for competition for dietary resources in the late Pleistocene Cuvieronius and suggest that this may have contributed to its eventual extinction. The paper has been published open access here.

October 2019: My co-authors and I have a new paper out in Quaternary International. We collected stable isotope data on megafauna from the Big Cypress Creek site in Texas. The site is amazing because it is the latest-known occurrence of the gomphothere Cuvieronius in North America and is, to-date, the only North American site with a toxodont (South American notoungulate)! Check it out here.

August 2019: I accepted a position as the Instructor for Interdisciplinary Science and Research at John Overton High School. The goal of this pathway is to teach students scientific habits of mind via inquiry-based scientific units. We draw from multiple scientific fields and provide students with authentic opportunities to collect data and discover something new. If you or your organization are interested in partnering with us, please reach out!

May 2019: The Friends of Fort Negley, of which I am chair of the Fossil Programs Committee, was awarded two separate grants to support paleontological education and outreach in the Nashville, TN area. A $2500 Paleontological Society Education and Outreach Grant will go towards installation of a fossil exhibit at the Fort Negley Visitor's Center. A $3500 Predators Foundation Grant will go towards supporting K-12 field trips to Fort Negley and in-class programming for 12 schools in the area. Thank you to our supporters!

March 2019: My co-authors and I named the first new species of mastodon in North America since 1799. Meet Mammut pacificus - the Pacific Mastodon! This species is distinguishable from Mammut americanum in having long, narrow molars, stouter limbs, and more sacral vertebrae. All Californian mastodons are hereby referred to M. pacificus! Paper is open access in PeerJ!

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