Jeff earned a doctorate in Science Education with an emphasis in ecology and endocrinology at the University of Iowa in 1998 after teaching high school Biology and Chemistry for eleven years in Mission, Texas; Kirkwood, Missouri; and Pella, Iowa. Ciba-Geigy named Jeff the 1993 Life Science Teacher of the year for Iowa; Pella Corporation honored Jeff with the Focus on Teaching Excellence award in 1994; and in 1995 Genentech awarded Jeff one of fifty Access Excellence Fellowships from across the United States.
As a university faculty member, first at Oklahoma State University from 1998 to 2000, and then at UNI from 2000 to 2008, Jeff conducted research around barriers to innovative science teaching at the high school and collegiate levels and how to overcome them. Jeff has authored more than fifty research articles, essays, and book chapters, along with the textbook, The Game of Science Education, published in 2004. He is past President of the Iowa Science Teachers association and of UNI’s chapter of Sigma Xi — the scientific research society. In 2007, Jeff was recognized as the College Biology Teacher of the Year- 4-year institutions by the National Association of Biology Teachers. He has directed the Iowa Math and Science Education Partnership (an inter-university STEM alliance) since 2008, and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council since Fall 2011.