Rachel Portinga

Rachel Portinga
Rachel Portinga
Rachel Portinga Rachel Portinga
Senior Lecturer, Biology
office. Barstow Hall 202
University of Wisconsin-Superior

Most recent degrees:

2014 - Master of Science (M.S.) - Integrated Biosciences - University of Minnesota – Dissertation/thesis topic: Browse Availability, Bite Size, and Effects of Stand Age on Species Composition and Browse Density for Moose (Alces alces) in Northeastern Minnesota

2011 - Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) - Environmental Studies - Concordia College

Academic background:

Rachel's goal is to provide a supportive environment for students to explore biology and connect it to society in an inclusive environment. She is safe zone and superior allies trained and uses "Brave Spaces" to guide student discussions. She provides opportunities for students to learn, and engage with, new details about biology because regardless of their major, all humans eat food, get sick, and use 'stuff" which is all possible because of biology! She enjoys using external media resources, daily in class assignments, and team-based learning, to help students make connections between the content and their "real-lives" on and off campus. She uses Academic Service Learning in Environmental Science (on campus) with over 30 community partners to help students learn to recognize and recommend sustainable actions. In her online courses, students take field trips to help the course come to life, and has Anatomy and Physiology students educate the community with Science Fest projects. 

Research interests:

The effects of climate change on different biomes and human interactions and lives due to genders and ethnicity. 

Non-academic interests:

Rachel has been President of Northwood’s Women in Science (NWIS) for two years, and a member since 2012. NWIS is a non-profit organization supporting science throughout the Twin Ports via scholarships, educational events, and networking opportunities for females and female-identified individuals in the sciences. Rachel is also the enthusiastic faculty advisor for the Sustainability Club at UW-Superior! She was previously Sustainability Co-Coordinator at Hibbing Community College and is a volunteer Sustainability Consulta. Her first partner was Hustle and Heart Salon in Duluth. Whether it be students in a dorm, a business, or a friend, she loves to help others learn how their choices could reduce waste, cut carbon emissions, promote equity, while living a lovely life with delicious food! For fun, Rachel enjoys playing the French horn in the Duluth Civic Orchestra, hiking with her pup and spouse, doing ballet, baking, cooking, and sewing.

Notable awards:

2013 - Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant 

Areas of knowledge:

Environmental Science and Sustainability, Online Teaching and Learning

Recent accomplishments:

2018 Advisor of the Year Award 
2018 Excellence in Academic Service Learning Award 

UW-Superior Faculty Advisor to Sustainability Club: Began recycling signs on campus, clothing swap in dorms, presented on waste reduction and reducing Ecological Footprints on campus and at Cafe Scientifique.

At Hibbing Community College: Began a community garden, secondhand clothing closet on campus, approved sustainability competencies for all future courses, free busing for students, and campus composting.

Attended WI Env Ed conference in 2017 and 2018

Sustainability Consultation for Hustle and Heart Salon and with Sustainability page design.

Taught multiple online courses for past four years, revised each time. Developed, and am teaching, an Independent Learning course (Human Biology) through UW-Extension. This is an asynchronous course and requires a unique approach.

Attended two conferences on distance education in summer 2017

Had course approved by Quality Matters, and used their rubric for all others.

Member of the Distance Learning Community of Practice Committee (Chair: Rebecca Graetz)

Other Involvement:

Faculty Advisor, Sustainability Club
President, Northwoods Women in Science organization 
Member, Duluth Community Orchestra, French Horn 
Baking, Gardening, Sewing, and Hiking enthusiast 

Rachel Portinga
in the News

More Headlines

Rachel is affiliated with: