DinoByte Wednesday: Meet the DIG Field School Co-Founders


Dr. Greg Wilson
DIG Executive Director Dr. Greg Wilson

Dr. Greg Wilson received his PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. He previously held curatorial and research appointments at Denver Museum of Nature and Science before joining the Department of Biology at the University of Washington as an Assistant Professor in 2007. This past September Greg received a promotion to Associate Professor at UW. Greg also has an adjunct position in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences and serves as Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Burke Museum of Natural History in Washington. Over the past 17 years, Greg has led, co-led or participated in paleontological and geological field research in Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic deposits all over the world including Ethiopia, Niger, India, Colombia, Mexico, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, California, Texas, and Montana. Greg’s research lab at UW focuses on the evolution and ecology of early mammals in the context of major events in earth history through fieldwork, systematics, and quantitative functional analysis of modern and extinct species. The rigorous, creative, multidisciplinary, and immersive nature of the scientific process got Greg hooked on science, but he identified a deficiency in translating this to the classroom. In 2009, Greg founded the DIG Field School after realizing that paleontological and geological field research conducted in Hell Creek was tailor-made to teach the scientific process.  Greg aspired to connect teachers and their classrooms with real and engaging science by giving them the DIG experience.  He serves as Executive Director of the DIG Field School which continues to grow each year.

Watch below as Greg discusses his research program and love for field work and paleontological discoveries:

Lauren DeBey
DIG Assistant Director Lauren DeBey

Lauren DeBey is a PhD student in Greg Wilson’s lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. Her research is focused on the extinction and recovery of mammals at the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Lauren uses the shapes and sizes of limb and ankle bones to infer locomotion and body size among communities of mammals. During her undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley and graduate work at UW, Lauren has spent seven summers doing fieldwork in the Hell Creek area, and has also done fieldwork in Alaska, Utah, and California. Her passion for education led her to pursue opportunities in graduate school where she could interact with students and teachers. She co-founded The DIG Field School with her graduate advisor, Greg Wilson, after realizing they share the same enthusiasm for combining authentic science experiences with education. Today, Lauren serves as Assistant Director of the DIG Field School. Since its inception in 2009, Lauren has helped grow the DIG tremendously, and has furthered her excitement for K-12 STEM and science outreach, a career she hopes to pursue after graduate school. Last but certainly not least, she is thrilled to welcome the teachers to the 5th Annual DIG Field School this summer!



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