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In my view, the learning and teaching processes are intimately connected. They are most effective if one feeds off of the other. The attitude and enthusiasm I bring to their training is also crucial to keep them interested, nurturing their curiosity and making learning fun. To engage students in the classroom I believe that a combination of main stream and dynamic methods are best. For a larger group, a well-prepared slide presentation will be effective. However, getting students to actively participate, and being part of the class will go further in making a long-lasting impact. In my experience, breaking larger classes into groups and encouraging them to interact with each other, will make the learning topics more amenable and students will be more comfortable asking questions. When teaching smaller groups, I prefer to use the board and encourage students to communicate what they have learned using this method as well. Visual aids are efficient in conveying the message we teach, but using a chalk talk tests your core knowledge of the topic and facilitates the simplification of concepts that may present as intimidating. Independently of the teaching method, the goal is to reach every student, taking into consideration that not all of them will respond to learning in the same way. I strongly encourage team work, taking full advantage of every one's individual strengths, by having them benefit the whole group. An effective strategy to promote collaboration among students in the lab is to have them share their expertise with each other. Although students may show interest in different fields of study, there may come the time when they will need to learn a technique or skill they had not encountered before. Being able to recognize and reach out to other group members who are proficient in that field will be invaluable as they learn how to network and build professional relationships.
Throughout my academic career I have trained students from many backgrounds. While in graduate school in Miami, I mentored students from a local community college and my own Ph.D. program, exposing me to a wide range of cultures and points of view that enriched my own experience as a student. My Ph.D. lab was very diverse, including members from at least seven countries.I am personally motivated to broaden my mentoring focus to engage underrepresented communities at the high school and college levels. It is important for students in these groups to see a path in science for them, as there was one for me, as a Cuban immigrant woman who had to navigate an unfamiliar American education system while adapting to a new culture. Not being familiar with the academic requirements and datelines involved in transitioning from one stage to the next in my academic journey contributed to unnecessary hardships that could have been avoided had I been exposed to the proper information and resources.
Despite the difficulties I encountered at different stages of my career, I was able to find opportunities to support my academic endeavors. I was awarded several scholarships at the college level that made my attendance to the University of Miami attainable. In graduate school I was awarded a four-year NIH fellowship that supports minority women in science, and during my first year as a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard, I was awarded the Dean's postdoctoral fellowship, specifically created to support underrepresented postdocs. As a mentor, I will share my experience and guide underrepresented students and fellows through funding and learning opportunities created to support their academic development.

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Iliana’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Miami - Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry

Graduate Degree: University of Miami - Doctor of Philosophy, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Everything science and nature-related. I love reading non-fiction and watching classic movies. Baking is a challenge that I try to conquer. I enjoy cooking different world cuisines!

Tutoring Subjects

A Beginner's Guide: Excel


Cell Biology


Conversational Spanish

Dissertation Writing



Essay Editing

Genetic Engineering

Graduate Level Biology

High School Chemistry


Molecular Biology

Molecular Genetics




Technology and Coding

Thesis Writing


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