Briana Pobiner

Professional Title
About Me (Bio)
I am the Science Outreach & Education Program Specialist for the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program. I have a BA in Evolutionary Studies from Bryn Mawr College, where I created her own major, and an MA and PhD in Anthropology from Rutgers University. My science research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), but has included topics as diverse as cannibalism in the Cook Islands and chimpanzee carnivory. I have done fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Indonesia and has been supported in her research by the Fulbright-Hays program, the Leakey Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, Rutgers University, the Society for American Archaeology, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. My favorite field moments include falling asleep in a tent in the Serengeti in Tanzania while listening to the distant whoops of hyenas, watching a pride of lions eat a zebra carcass on the Kenyan equator, and discovering fossil bones that were last touched, butchered and eaten by one of my 1.5 million year old ancestors. I came to the Smithsonian in 2005 to help work on the Hall of Human Origins, got bitten by the “public understanding of science” bug and haven’t looked back, continuing to do my research while leading the Human Origins Program’s education and outreach efforts. I currently manages the Human Origins Program's public programs, website content, social media, volunteer content training, and other education and outreach initiatives.
Smithsonian Institution

This project will develop and test two curriculum units on the topic of evolution for high school general biology courses, with one unit focusing primarily on human case studies to teach evolution and one unit focusing primarily on case studies of evolution in other species. The two units will be compared to examine how different approaches to teaching evolution affect students and teachers.

Smithsonian Institution

This three-year exploratory research and development project is assessing how the use of resource activities and teaching strategies focused on human evolution will affect the understanding, teaching and learning of evolution by high school AP biology teachers and students. The project will develop resource activities and teaching strategies with and for high school biology teachers. Professional development will also provide teachers with guidance on how to incorporate the activities and strategies into the classroom.