Below I lay out the trajectory I followed that led to my development as a teacher; this has seen me journey through a Ph. D., post-doctoral research, and a career as a scientific advisor.
I have interpreted my Ph. D. dissertation in cancer biology
as providing training in medical research and as the beginning of my interest in inquiry-based learning methods. My graduate studies were focused on the characterization of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases and treatment of cancer. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases are defined as cell signaling enzymes implicated in cellular responses to DNA injury. The cancer therapy regime investigated used the inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. This research allowed the extensive study of biology and molecular biology.
I came to NYC on a post-doctoral fellowship based at Columbia University. The fellowship supported the study of the interactions of DNA replication proteins with a protein central to the development of many cancers, p53. Roles in cancer development were considered and used to explore the possibilities of cancer therapeutics. This move was also the beginning of my teaching in Biochemistry
and advising students in an undergraduate program focusing on enriching the experience of minority students in science
. I also trained graduate students in biochemical and molecular biological techniques.
During my post-doctoral work I became interested in the intersection of medicine and law
, embracing bioethics and education as a social justice issue. A number of litigation cases, which stood at the interface of medicine, "in the public good," property and ethics drew me to work as a scientific advisor supporting bioscience related civil litigation. I see this step as furthering my abilities as a teacher. My primary role is to develop an analytic narrative that is available to a diverse listener population.
Upon reflection, I have interpreted my Ph. D. dissertation as providing my foundation in problem solver learning now referred to as inquiry-based learning. My teaching practice explores authentic questions that coalesce with exam-focused study. It is this authenticity of the questions that is my central strategy for teaching science. This is in no way new, or original but rather an apt description for both study and excelling within a formal exam structure.
The development of an understanding of science in a classroom setting / study setting does not presuppose that the students are engaged with the ideas of science and experiences available in the natural world. Rather the development depends on teaching in ways that are appealing.
My teaching experience has been gathered in high school classrooms (grades 10 – 12), university research labs, lectures, seminars, teacher professional development programs and community college. My experiences range from individual student advisement to seminar and lecture teaching to science educational outreach activities.