Teaching Assistantships: In Spring 2020, I taught 2 sections (~30 students) of Evolution & Genetics (Bio202L), an introductory laboratory course. Students explore an overview of molecular biological, evolutionary, and genetic concepts in lectures and learn foundational bench techniques in labs. I facilitate broad engagement by incorporating a mix of small group discussions, presentation and chalk-talk style lectures, visual diagraming, and some written evaluations. For example, when students learn PCR, I first have them watch an animated video. Next, students draw out each step with a partner from memory, and finally, as a class, they create a diagram on the whiteboard to further reinforce the concept. After this activity, students have recalled the steps and purpose of PCR three times and have created a diagram they are able to refer back to for the rest of the lab. Student feedback on my laboratory teaching consistently highlights my approachability as a strength: students report feeling comfortable asking questions, proposing answers that might be incorrect, and asking for further explanation. During this teaching experience, my sections were observed by peers in the Certificate for College Teaching program and their feedback echoed students’: transitioning between activities seems to maintain student attention and they noted that students were prepared to answer questions when asked during lecture activities.
In Spring 2021, I assisted Philosophy of Biology (Bio255), which is a discussion-based course covering theories of natural selection and the evolution of complexity. During this course, I wrote and graded quizzes and essays, organized the virtual lecture and discussion spaces, and maintained the course site for 18 students. I delivered a virtual guest lecture on the origins of life where I presented students with two main hypotheses on the origin of life, incorporating some examples from my own field of microbial extremophiles. This experience was particularly valuable because it (1) was a teaching format I was less familiar with, (2) was in a field where I had less expertise, and (3) offered the opportunity to design the lesson and lecture plan myself. Through this reflection and instructor feedback, I was able to identify specific areas where I can grow as an instructor, strategies to avoid making the same mistakes, and a plan to develop those skills further.
Guest Lecturing: In Spring 2022, I collaborated with another graduate student to organize a Data Expedition for students in the Biology of Host-Pathogen Interactions (Bio432S). We presented students with host-centered genomics data set and used R to explore the dataset, uncover trends, and discuss the importance of metadata. Additionally, I participate in outreach with my thesis lab at the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM). There we lead a 2-week workshop to engage students with primary research literature. I have led workshops on scientific reading skills and introductory microbiology and created an R tutorial comparing different mathematical models for microbial growth. Students design a microbial growth experiment, execute their experiment in our lab at Duke and present their results to the rest of their peers during a poster session.