EAS 6920: Fall 2019/Spring 2020
“Graduate Experience in EAS”
Worked with Prof. Natalie Mahowald to reform this course from a more passive, lecture based format to an interactive series of workshops covering topics solicited from the graduate students themselves. The goal of this course is to equip students with the soft skills needed to navigate their graduate experience and set them up for success on graduation. Topics covered included (among others) “How to write a proposal” (featuring peer-editing of student’s proposals), “How to Give an Elevator Pitch”, and “Careers Inside and Outside of Academia”.
This was my first experience really getting to shape a course, and I learned quickly just how many variables had to be accounted and planned for. It was particularly rewarding to see how the transition from lecture to workshop format helped to form a cohort mentality among the incoming graduate students, and created links between incoming and senior graduate students.
EASC 620: Fall 2013
Simon Fraser University
Taught the lab section of a senior undergraduate/graduate course in volcanology, including teaching and facilitating hands-on lab exercises, facilitating a capstone volcanic disaster simulation, and assisting on field trips.
The two things I learned from serving as a TA for this course were 1) I actually enjoy grading if I get to design the rubric and 2) how to quickly adjust if I have misjudged the background knowledge of the students! I developed the strategy of checking in with my students to make sure they were comprehending my instructions, and being patient about backing up to fill in gaps in their knowledge, so that everyone had a fair chance of completing the labs.
EASC 101: Fall 2012
Simon Fraser University
Taught multiple lab sections of this introductory geology course, including several hands-on labs.
In my first experience running a lab section by myself, I quickly learned the joys of “aha” moments, responding to students’ surprising and often challenging questions, and running with my students when they wanted to move beyond simply doing the labs. One tactic I developed early on was to rotate regularly through the class, taking special care to check on the quieter students who I knew were more reluctant to ask questions.
GEOL 399: Winter 2011
University of Oregon
“Jump Into Geology Sophomore Seminar”
Assisted with a seminar-style course on Oregon geology including a field trip to the Oregon coast.
In this first experience as a TA I had one of the most eye-opening experiences about student engagement I’ve ever had. Midway through the course, a student who was typically checked-out during class sessions got his hands on a rock hammer during a class field trip for the first time. After this field trip, he suddenly became one of the most eager students in the course! Watching that transformation taught me how important hands-on experience could be for encouraging a student to care about their own learning in a course.
Mentoring365: 2018 – 2020
Through the Mentoring365 program, I have now mentored two undergraduate students through the grad school application process. One has completed her first year of a doctoral program, and the other will be starting in the fall with an NSF fellowship! Through the application process I provided basic information on what to expect, reviewed application materials, and talked through communicating with potential advisers, doubts, and difficult decisions.
I am incredibly proud of my mentees, and so honored to have had the chance to mentor them. Through the application I saw how empowering it was for my mentees when I affirmed their whole identities as a strength, encouraged them to find a program that was good for both their career and their well-being, and developed enough of a rapport that they felt comfortable asking me anything. Seeing them succeed was incredibly rewarding, and has renewed my dedicated to science and teaching.
Pritchard Remote Sensing Lab: 2018-2020
As a graduate student I’ve had the privilege of assisting in advising multiple undergraduate and beginning graduate students doing research in our lab. I primarily mentor undergraduates in the “nuts and bolts” of research, teaching them how to use the main software programs.
I’ve learned from this just how much it means to students when I am open and honest about how much I struggled with learning some of the software, because then they know they’re not innately bad at research. This is particularly important for combatting stereotype threat for female graduate students!
ALS 6015: The Practice of Teaching in Higher Education
In this course I learned the fundamentals of pedagogy, with an emphasis of active learning and inclusive teaching. As part of the course I taught one of the class sessions, designed a sample syllabus, and prepared teaching philosophy and diversity statements.
After taking this course, I cannot wait to put the things I learned into practice! I am particularly excited to try out the several active learning techniques we covered, and see how I could use them to make traditional math-heavy geophysics courses more engaging and less intimidating.
This online course taught both philosopy and practical strategies for inclusive teaching in a diverse classroom. The 5 modules explored inclusive course design, social identity and self reflection, and pedagogical practices that encourage connection across differences.
Note: “MOOC” is short for “Massively Open Online Course”
Other Teaching Experience
Ithaca Astronomy For All
I co-lead a community stargazing series in which, rather than simply pointing telescopes for visitors and inviting them to look, we teach community members to use the telescopes and search the night sky for themselves! We teach anyone who comes, of any age or educational background.
Teaching any and all members of the public keeps me always thinking on my feet, coming up with new ways to deliver the content so that each visitor comes away knowing they don’t have to have a degree in astrophysics to use a telescope! I’ve also learned how to teach even those who come to this convinced they are “not smart enough” – by the end of the night, some of these people have stayed for hours!
Teacher-For-A-Day, Spencer Butte Middle School
Eugene, OR, 2010
I “took over” a local middle school science teacher’s class for a day, teaching an interactive course on plate tectonics using Google Earth that I had designed myself. I prepared extensively, working out course goals, materials, and timing, and saw this pay off with class after class of excited students happily hunting for subduction zones!
This first teaching experience really brought home how important thorough planning was – with a short 45 minute class period, I couldn’t afford not to time my lesson plan! I also learned the importance of establishing long-term with a class, as the middle school teacher was easily able to call his class to attention, whereas I was not!