Teaching has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career thus far. My own undergraduate education at a liberal arts college inspired me to seek out teaching opportunities at every step of my training. In my experience, a biology education requires a strong foundation in problem-solving and communication skills. I emphasize inquiry-based learning in the classroom by teaching students to work in teams, design experiments, analyze real-world data, and read published papers. These exercises develop scientific literacy and equip students with transferable skills that apply to many careers.
Is Evolution Predictable?
I received a Distinguished Teaching Fellowship at the University of Virginia to design and teach an upper-level undergraduate class as the instructor of record. I attended an intensive course design institute and developed a class that challenges students to read and discuss new peer-reviewed publications each week. The central goal of the class was to investigate and debate whether evolutionary processes are predictable.
"The fact that we spent most of the class discussing the papers really helped me learn how to read scientific articles and think critically about them. In addition, doing presentations/leading discussions is a useful skill to have that I don't get to practice often in biology classes."
"He was very good at creating discussion and his assignments were all constructive and thought out."
"The weekly quizzes were helpful. The weekly articles contrasted each other well and had a lot of thought into each one. The student presentations were enjoyable."
I opted for additional coursework during my PhD and enrolled in Teaching Science in Higher Education, where I spent the semester designing an inquiry-driven lab on meiosis that can be implemented in introductory biology classes. I also received comprehensive feedback on my teaching from students, peers, and a faculty mentor. I synthesized the student feedback as part of a final report, which included analyses of quantitative and qualitative data from an anonymous survey.
"I now realize that not all scientists are scary and intense. I feel more inclined to pursue science in school."
"His enthusiasm for science makes me enthusiastic about it as well."
"[He] isn't judgmental when someone asks questions, is always positive and helpful."