Background in Education

Jon grew up in a family of educators. His father was a principal, his mother was a school teacher, both worked in the U.S. public school system. Jon’s early experience as an educator came in the form of volunteer work in his parents’ classrooms. In college, Jon studied visual design with a focus on how to use animation as a teaching tool. During this time, he continued to do volunteer teaching work. He taught biology in informal settings such as the Portland Zoo and Chintimini Wildlife Center. Jon got his first job in education was at Oregon State University. There he helped design online classes and worked with professors to develop better ways to present content to students through multimedia.

Jon now works full-time on the Stated Clearly project. His schedule is split between animation production, meeting with scientists to learn more about their work, and giving live presentations in classrooms and at various public venues.

Jon’s history with Stated Clearly

The Stated Clearly project began when Jon published the first official animation on August 30th, 2012: What is DNA and How Does it Work?

The animation was an experiment. He wanted to know if he could take a subject as technical and intimidating as genetics, and with the aid of animation, present it in a way that would make it both inviting and understandable to people with no previous knowledge of biology or chemistry. If it worked, he intended to create a series on genetics, evolution, and chemistry, aimed to help the general public master the fundamentals of these often feared, avoided subjects.

Response to the first animation was overwhelming! It quickly gained popularity on YouTube as non-scientists simply watched it out of curiosity and shared it on social media. It was soon discovered by the Royal Institute of Great Britain and posted on their website where it spread among teachers who now use it in classrooms all over Europe, Australia, and the United States.

Seeing the project’s success, Jon quickly searched for financial means that would give him more time for the project. With generous donations from viewers, combined with a grant from the NSF/NASA, Center for Chemical Evolution, he and a growing team of scientists and artists have produced a library of over 20 animations, many of which have now been translated into Spanish and Arabic.

Jon’s second channel: Stated Casually

Shortly after the launch of Stated Clearly, Jon created a second channel, Stated Casually, allowing him to create videos of his live presentations, interact more directly with his audience, and post things that are interesting, but might not be classroom material. This includes a tour of the Ark Encounter theme park, skull I.D. quizzes, and a series where he and his nephew look into the claim that alien skulls have been found in Peru.