I love math, science, engineering, and all things tech. I've taught at every level from K-12 to graduate students, and even help teachers think about how to integrate math and science into humanities. All things nerd, tech or comic, I got ya.
Undergraduate Degree: Boston University - Bachelors, Aerospace Engineering
Graduate Degree: Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus - PHD, Aerospace Engineering
Crew, Reading, Running, Dancing, and anything to do with water.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My mission is to have an educated impact. When I think of my favorite teachers, I think of the impact they had on my learning experience both in the classroom and beyond. As a teacher, I am responsible for teaching students how to engage material and each other while they learn how to learn and think. In my opinion undergrad is where you learn how to learn, while graduate school is where you learn how to think. Therefore, the teaching style, degree of difficulty, and expected autonomy is different for these two outcomes. I follow the team-based learning, and interdisciplinary pedagogy, because this is in line with my belief that that engineering is a hands-on application field that requires teams for complex projects and draws from interdisciplinary aspects. My philosophy reflects the broader emphasis on conceiving, designing, implementing, and operating of the CDIO methods for undergraduate engineering education. As an engineer, I am required to apply a professional rigor to coursework so that students understand their classes are real world applications that fit into a grand scheme of engineering principles. My impact in the classroom must leave students with the freedom and flexibility to create innovation that is founded in sound engineering and scientific principles. Students should be given a safe place to fail before working in front of industry partners, and progressively work towards the confidence in building hands on projects that they can present to external partners. The challenge of being an engineering educator is being an excellent teacher while exhibiting sound engineering principles. Students should expect a resource, a challenge, and a learning guide from me. I rely on presentations as my first line of information, homework and review as a second application and hands on projects as my final evaluation of mastery. Between those three aspects, students should be engaged on every level of their senses and learning abilities. Personally, I learn the most from the hands-on experience so I lean heavily towards this teaching style. I believe that engineering is hands-on and the courses must follow suit as to why we are being taught principles to build a solid foundation upon. The goal of any teacher should be to have students sense the lesson and apply it in real life. By giving a hands-on project, the student can use it as a starting point, foster creativity and innovation, which is extremely important in the STEM disciplines. The teacher in me encourages creative lines of thinking, challenges a student to answer their own questions with a little guidance from me, all the while giving information in a repetitive manner through the audio, visual and hands-on approaches. The focus of teaching is to convey learning in a variety of ways that students will be able to grasp the concepts. My teaching experience allows me to teach anything that my students need to learn, just as my engineering research and industry experience allows me to design to my client's needs. My specialties are orbit dynamics, system engineering and concurrent engineering. My postdoc dealt with infrastructure for concurrent engineering and designing complex projects which is why I stick to the interdisciplinary approach for my teaching philosophy. If a student ever says "I do not understand" or comes to me with a question, the first thing out of my mouth is "Well, let's think about this." I would then continue to present the problem a different way. Part of being a teacher is to be just as creative teaching to a student's learning style as knowing the information backward and forward. Utilizing this system of audio, visual and hands-on approaches will allow students to come away with questions not covered in the course, provoking creativity and thought, while being able to handle the requirements for building upon the engineering principles essential for a working engineer. Graduate teaching requires the same level of teaching creativity, but requires a higher degree of expected autonomy. The differences require that I teach graduate students in a way that will stimulate their research and independent thinking with more open-ended problems and projects. It also involves me finding "customers" and "stakeholders" that would give them instant feedback of the applicability of the class and judge their projects accordingly. While I am quite adaptable and creative in my teaching methods the engineer in me demands correct, professional, punctual work with a clear line of thinking laid out. If I cannot follow your reasoning, understand your writing, or reproduce your answer then you have not clearly communicated yourself. The most brilliant idea is meaningless if not communicated on multiple levels. The approach may vary as long as it is sought within sound engineering, scientific, and mathematical principles. I will go out of my way to show a student who is trying to learn multiple ways to learn the material, but in the end I am responsible to exhibit engineering behavior. Engineers have an ethical responsibility to show sound work. Therefore, things like significant figures, error bars, report presentations, and project write ups are extremely significant to the engineering profession. I have a responsibility to hold students to engineering standards so that they understand they must hold themselves in the highest regard as well. To this avail, I expect a problem solution to be shown from assumptions to step by step methodology to the correct answer. These steps are important in the engineering world. Setting good habits now by demanding that students take pride in their work is of the utmost importance to their engineering careers later. My practice as a teacher is to have students write their own textbooks. This encourages them to ask questions, annotate their own understanding and use it as a succinct summary of their own handiwork. A reference book is required for their reading and understanding. In order to reinforce the concept of writing their own textbook, I would require one student to be representative of the lecture's notes, which I would copy and return to them at the end of class. Everyone would turn in their notes/textbook at the end of the class as part of their grade. This would ensure that students are attentive in class, asking their own questions, going through their own reasoning, and always thinking of creative ways to further their understandings. It would also serve as an assessment of my teaching ability. This would be in addition to student grades on homework, tests and projects. I believe a student's grade is a culmination of their own work and understanding, therefore I do not grade on curves or pit students against each other. Engineering is an application field. Therefore, it is important to incorporate everyday life into the classroom. A student should be able to go into any surrounding and see the engineering aspects. In order to incorporate this, I would want a photo book or just quick explanation where they see a particular lesson in their real-life settings. It would be a small way to bring students together outside of the classroom to show a slideshow of how they see their lessons being applied. Engineering is an exciting field. It is the application of all the science and math theory culminating in exciting project results. The student may one day have a massive impact through industry, research, and public policy; however, the biggest impact any one person may have is to teach their craft.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I'd start by asking the student what they like about the subject, what they don't like and how it might be difficult. I'd then talk about myself and my experiences, and how I use it in the day-to-day world.