In my teaching, my goal is to not only inform the student, but to spark an interest in biology in that student by exposing them to a wide range of topics and demonstrating how biology is relevant in everyday life. During this process, I see myself as not an instructor, so much as a facilitator. All students have an inquisitiveness that can be harnessed and nurtured through appropriate challenge and encouragement. It is my job to provide the broad basis of information that a student can then find what intrigues them, and delve into the details that they find most interesting, while I assist them in refining their learning strategies, and when necessary, mentor them in research- or the discovery of novel information. My desire to teach lies both in my vested interest in helping to craft a more science-literate society and in my own joy at seeing the educational process happen, the pleasure in seeing that “Ah ha!” moment when a student discovers something new that excites them.
My academic background, teaching experience, and career as a researcher make me well-prepared to teach introductory biology and animal courses as well as more advanced courses on wetlands, community ecology, herpetology, and invasion ecology.
In Spring 2012, I taught Vertebrate Biology 223 as an adjunct at Hiram College. In this class, we covered vertebrate anatomy and phylogeny though lectures, class discussion, dissection labs, and an individual paper. The paper covered comparative anatomy of two species of the students’ choosing, framed within a hypothetical regulatory agency approval process. Students described a chemical or procedure for which they were seeking approval, and how to test the chemical on a target and non-target organism or two non-target species. They then used the comparative anatomies to contrast how the chemical could affect the two organisms differently. This was a great experience because I was able to explore a greater diversity of the aspects of running a course than I had previously, including creating a syllabus, developing assignments and supplementary materials, and writing and presenting lectures.
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