Mountaineer Leadership Conference: 2013 Keynote Speakers
Dr. Chris Distel was born and raised in Ohio where he learned to love nature at a very young age. During high school he decided to pursue a career in biology with the specific hopes of working with animals. He attended Hiram College, where he met his wife, and graduated with a B.A. (biology major, religious studies minor) in 2002. He went directly into a graduate program at Eastern Kentucky University where he taught his first biology lab, mentored an undergraduate student in research, and saw the important role of conservation biology. He received an M.S. in 2004, just a month after getting married. Distel then worked for two years in research at the Cleveland Clinic studying cancer immunotherapy while volunteering at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History surveying their natural areas. In 2006 Distel enrolled in zoology at Miami University (that's the one in Ohio) and studied interactions between insecticides and competition on amphibians, which are disappearing faster than any other terrestrial vertebrate group. At Miami he was also able to teach a variety of biology courses and labs. He received research grants from national and international organizations to fund research in collaboration with undergraduate students. Two of those students published with Dr. Distel in professional journals, contributing to his seven total publications from work at Miami. He received a Ph.D. in 2010 and began working at Schreiner as the new faculty member in field biology. At Schreiner he also chairs committees with missions in which he believes strongly: the Environmental Stewardship Committee and the Undergraduate Research Task Force. He formed and coordinates the Schreiner Youth Ecologist Program, an outreach opportunity for local grade schoolers taught by SU students. He has been involved in planning the educational and nature components of the Kerrville River Trail. Alongside biology he has often been involved in music and theater, with several recent performances and a position on the board at Playhouse 2000 in Kerrville. Dr. Distel and his wife Sarah have three children: Norah (7), Theo (5), and Sophie (4 months), and together they enjoy theater and camping.