Past KTU Programs - Kids' Tech University (KTU) at Ohio
Drs. J. Andrew Roberts and Kelly E. C. RobertsJanuary 17, 2015
Why are spiders your friends? | OSU Newark

An interactive session led by Drs. J. Andrew Roberts and Kelly E. C. Roberts

Associate Professor of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University at Newark; Supervising Counselor and Registered Art Therapist

This KTU event will be held at OSU Newark

Spiders creep and crawl on their eight little legs, creating panic when they emerge in garages, basements, kitchens, attics, bathrooms, and sometimes even the family car. It seems like everyone hates spiders, and yet spiders are everywhere. But did you know that very few of the 46,000-plus species of spiders are even slightly dangerous to humans? That they almost never bite people? And that they most definitely don’t crawl in your mouth while you sleep? In fact, spiders do a lot more good than harm. Together we will explore the world of spiders. Through discussion and activities including art projects, we will learn about their anatomy, lifestyle, and behavior, and arm you with the knowledge to become an arachnophile, not an arachnophobe!

Dr. Andy Roberts is a behavioral ecologist who works with invertebrate (mainly spiders) and vertebrate organisms in habitats including coastal, riparian, flood plain, old growth forest, Mojave Desert, and cave and karst ecosystems. His research focuses on the evolution of animal communication and social behavior. Currently, he is investigating chemical communication in wolf spiders and environmental constraints on the evolution of animal signals and signaling behavior. Dr. Roberts has published in Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, and the Journal of Arachnology, among others. His work has been funded by several organizations, including the National Science Foundation. He earned his PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Cincinnati in 2003 and joined the faculty at Ohio State Newark in 2004.

Dr. Kelly Roberts is a mental health clinician with specialties in trauma, domestic violence, and teen dating violence. She knows first-hand how studying spiders’ anatomy, behavior, and lifecycle through creating artwork can reduce and even eliminate arachnophobia – it’s how she overcame her own fear of spiders! She has developed many fun, educational, spider art projects to help us learn more about spiders during lab today! Dr. Roberts’ research focuses on establishing the efficacy of the Expect Respect: Promoting Healthy Dating Relationships, a dating violence prevention program she co-developed and has presented in Licking County High Schools since 2005. Currently, she is investigating the long-term effects of the program in Licking County High Schools and at OSUN. Her work has been funded by The Center for New Beginnings Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Ohio University, The Woodlands Serving Central Ohio Inc., and The Ohio State University at Newark. She earned her MA in Expressive Therapies from the University of Louisville in 2003 and she earned her PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Ohio University in 2009.

Locations subject to change, updates will be provided closer to event date.