Teaching

I enjoy teaching about science, both in the classroom and through STEM outreach activities. Through one method or another, I have had the opportunity to share my love of science with students of all ages, from kindergarten all the way through graduate school.

K-12 outreach

Up through the end of high school, I never even considered a career in science, but this was largely because I had no idea what it really meant to be a scientist. I want to keep young students informed about the options available to them, and to foster an appreciation for science even in those who will pursue non-STEM careers. I have especially focused on economically disadvantaged communities, which often overlaps with under-represented minorities in science, as I believe these groups are especially in need of this additional support.

Through Skype a Scientist, I have shared my journey in science with ~250 students so far, across the United States and in every grade K-12. I have also been a scientist pen pal through Letters to a Pre-Scientist, exchanging letters with a Spanish-speaking 5th grader.

More locally, I also a graduate student advisor to Bull City Scholars, a Duke undergraduate club that provides classroom assistants to a local middle school. At Duke, I have also taught classes on topics ranging from introductory microbiology to the science of baking bread through Duke Splash. Previously, I taught courses on Medical Microbiology and Biopsychology to students in grades 7-12 at a science camp held at Northeastern University.

Drawings by kindergartners at a school in Texas after our Skype a Scientist talk about microbes. The art spanned lab equipment, phages and tardigrades based on 3D prints I showed them, and even different bacteria shapes I described.

University education

At the university level, my goal is to empower students to take control of their own learning and develop the skills necessary to succeed in science. I aim to move students beyond memorization and recitation of facts to applying those facts, designing creative experiments, and analyzing data.

I first got experience teaching when I was an undergrad at WPI. There, I worked as a teaching assistant for Medical Microbiology, and as a peer advisor at the Career Development Center (CDC), where I lead workshops on career skills like resume writing and interviewing. At Duke, I have been a teaching assistant for a graduate-level module course on Exploring the Microbiome, and served as an advisor to undergraduate student instructors for a Middle School Outreach house course.

During COVID-19 isolation, I had the opportunity to take my teaching international by serving as a guest lecturer for undergraduate students at the University of Abuja in Nigeria. Via Zoom, I gave lectures on “Microbial Growth and Reproduction” and “Microbial Metabolism.” You can view those lectures on YouTube, below.

I am committed to improving my teaching skills and learning more about what constitutes effective teaching strategies. At Duke, I am enrolled in the Certificate in College Teaching program, through which I have taken courses in curriculum design and biology, and I am working towards teaching my own course at Duke in the future. The draft syllabus for the course I am working on, “Microbes and Humans,” can be viewed below. The goal of this unique course is to provide a framework for students to understand what microbes are and how they function by placing them in the context of human life and culture.