Since I’ve been at UGA, I’ve taught six semesters, all of which taking place in Biological Sciences 1107L. Thus far my evaluations are stellar, with an average TA rating of 4.8/5.0 across all semesters. My students say that I am engaging, relateable, and someone they can talk to about pursuing degrees and careers in science.
Every semester I emphasize good scientific methodology and scientific writing, and frame my teaching in an application/practical science manner. In addition, I continue to encourage and guide my students into research labs across campus. To date, I have assisted 28 current and previous students by helping them craft CVs and initial email messages to faculty. In my opinion, most students who are interested in research are either afraid to speak with faculty or at a loss where to start the process, it is my goal to mitigate this problem. To help achieve this goal, I have written a blog post through the Athens Science Observer on this topic, which many of my former students have referenced.
Beyond teaching, I have been involved in curriculum creation this introductory biology lab. In 2013 I expanded a science communication lab, to have students compare and contract press release information against the scientific article source material. Additionally, I assisted in expanding a bioinformatic module to better integrate the material with what was being taught in the lecture. Further, I have created two pre-lab assignments, one involving citations and the second a large animation to teach students about evolutionary genetics.
Beyond the 1107 lab course, I was part of the graduate student team that tackled the PBIO 2000 “Plant Based Solutions” course, where I designed and taught a single lecture on food security, food safety, and food waste. This lecture was designed to make the student think about big agriculture, and the role science policies play on a local, national, and international level. I have also guest lectured for three graduate level science communication courses in the departments of Plant Biology, Infectious Disease, and Veterinary Medicine. These guest lectures covered elevator pitches, 3MT competitions, and the interaction of science and social media.
2014 Outstanding Teaching Award