I recently completed my graduate research in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Biochemistry at southern Illinois University School of Medicine. During my graduate studies, I was an NSF fellow and I also worked as a writer for ASBMB Today, a monthly publication of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
I have consistently dedicated my efforts towards increasing the involvement and competitiveness of students in STEM areas. I gained experience in making science more relatable by teaching both undergraduate and doctoral level biology courses. During my graduate studies, I worked with the underserved fellowship office to mentor and recruit students to the Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Microbiology program offered at SIUC. I routinely volunteer as a judge for the Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Fair in an effort to encourage and provide advice to young scientists. As previously mentioned, I worked as a writer for ASBMB Today, a monthly publication from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This opportunity allowed me to bring awareness to current issues in science and also highlight initiatives that can increase participation in STEM areas.
I try to teach with the perspective of the students in mind. As an educator, I believe that students have the propensity to grasp scientific concepts. However, I think the way science is taught causes the aversion students often have towards it. Therefore, I avoid teaching science by merely stating facts. I strive to teach it in a way that is relatable and relevant. I believe in taking complex scientific concepts, simplifying it, and then communicating it in a manner that is applicable for students. I also try to design lessons that engage students through dialogue, illustrations and practical hands-on activities. By engaging students in the lesson it facilitates their participation and growth in the subject matter.
As an educator, I aspire to facilitate the learning process by not being the primary source of information. I think this encourages the growth of students to go through the process of finding information on their own. Placing some of the responsibility on the student to find information compels them to invest in their own learning process, hence making it more likely for them to retain the information. For this same reason, I also suggest that students answer their own questions by researching it. Then I follow up by discussing their findings to ensure that the student is guided through the learning process, and actually has acquired the right information. I think this helps to reinforce the concepts learned. As mentioned earlier, I avoid teaching science by stating facts, because I think it encourages students to memorize facts without really learning or applying concepts. To promote the actual application of the information taught, I try to ask questions that require the students to understand the concept and apply the knowledge of the subject matter.
Lastly, I try to ensure that I offer students the best quality of education. I remain effective and relevant by staying informed with advancements in science by attending conferences, studying peer-reviewed literature, and networking with professionals in different sectors of the field. This allows me to stay well-versed and effectual as an educator. By continually educating myself, it enables me to prepare students to be more competitive in science, thus pushing me closer to achieving my goals.
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