I attained a Ph.D. in Molecular & Cellular Biology from Oregon State University where my focus was on molecular evolution, virology and genomics. Previously I have practiced over a decade of basic science research in a variety of fields from cancer to immunology. I have experience in leading graduate, undergraduate and high school students through research projects with guidance in basic scientific concepts and analytical thinking. I have also have experience teaching undergraduates in general biology.
I have had the pleasure to teach and learn from peers and students and know there are diverse learning styles. While teaching at Oregon State, I was fortunate to have being taught principles in pedagogy: the art of teaching. Through my experiences in academics I can relate to a wide variety of student's motivations and manners of learning.
A easy way to synthesize new details is to realize their real-world applications. I would like to pass my experiences on to help classroom details to become more relatable. I am an affable person and know the pressures that many students face. I want to help students reach their goals. I believe the tools to sharpen thinking, synthesis and analysis will help you not just in a particular topic but to other classes and into the future.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - Bachelors, Biological Sciences
Graduate Degree: Oregon State University - PHD, Molecular & Cellular Biology
Loves the Pittsburgh Pirates
What is your teaching philosophy?
The goal in education beyond simply learning is to develop critical thinking, analytical skills so as to be able to synthesize information and become intellectual. The growth of intellect in multiple topics is a lifelong goal, and I would like to share my experiences and knowledge to help students reach their goals.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Identify their goals and obstacles. Outline their commitments and develop a time-management strategy. Break down goals into workable units (days and weeks) of work to self-access and make adjustments to.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Self-learning comes from a combination of motivation, learning, and practice. Knowing what you want and how you plan to get there is an application of time and focus.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Self-motivation is the best motivation. I would be their coach to help them realize their goals and devote the resources to get there. By practicing information and concepts, a student's confidence will grow and their motivation to succeed will grow.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Breaking a topic down into smaller parts is the easiest way to understand a topic if it is at first confusing. Also, relating a topic to real-world examples helps students understand abstract topics. Learning styles can be accommodated by varying the delivery of information from reading to lecturing, to visuals.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Depending on the level of the concept, breaking the reading down into the topic sentence and the conclusion with supporting arguments is a start. I start by scanning the reading and outlining keywords in the topic. Next, I ask the student to tell me or summarize what they have read to help develop their own comprehension of the reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
A class differs from an individual. If the topic is unfamiliar, start light and lower the pressure or burden of getting everything right immediately. A teacher benefits by learning about the personality of their student and finding the best path to communicating the knowledge.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Organize: Break down time to complete the tasks. Drill: Assemble core information to learn. Confidence: Make the student understand that they are capable. Finally, Excitement: Cater to their individual personality. (e.g., Either commit objectives to feelings, reflect passively on objectives, develop theoretical knowledge, or actively engage topics by asking the student to teach the topic to me or peers.)
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Frame details into 'bigger picture' concepts in the student's own words. Defend a topic as if they were debating. Develop multiple 'right' answers to concept questions. Write out summarizations of concepts.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Allow the student to understand they are capable. Communicate that even the most complex subjects can be mastered. Ensure a student is and feels prepared. Understand the pitfalls and contradictions in logic of a statement. Practice, practice, practice (worksheets, flashcards, talk-it-out, etc.). Time devoted to any topic with positive feedback (assessing that gains have been made) will lead to confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Assess their goals, then determine their study habits. Often there are learning techniques younger students have not tried that can meet their needs. Provide support and encouragement when needed.