Stephen Jenkins

Stephen Jenkins is a professor of biology at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he has taught long enough to have had several sets of parents and children as students. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1975 and has studied the behavior and ecology of mammals as familiar as beavers and wild horses, and as unfamiliar as kangaroo rats. Most recently he has been interested in the evolution of personalities in kangaroo rats, asking why some are shy and others are bold and why males seem to have more variable personalities than females.

Like most academics, Jenkins has published technical papers for specialists in professional journals. He has gradually become convinced that scientists need to communicate with a more diverse audience and has had some recent opportunities to do this. Wild horses on public lands are a flash point of controversy in the western U.S. and Jenkins developed a computer model that is used by the Bureau of Land Management to plan population control measures for horses. This model influences how BLM managers interact with advocates for and against controlling horse populations on public lands. In 2004, Oxford University Press published his book, How Science Works: Evaluating Evidence in Biology and Medicine. The book uses several case studies to illustrate key aspects of the process of science for general readers.

Jenkins has taught introductory biology to non-majors, research design to graduate students and upper-division classes in ecology and mammalogy. He received the Outstanding Mentor Award of the UNR Graduate Student Association in 2000 and the LeMay Outstanding Teaching Award of the College of Science in 2009.

Session(s) by Stephen Jenkins: