I've very excited to announce my new Sully Asks A Scientist blog feature :D These are guest Q&A blog posts from members of our lab, Penn State scientists from various departments, and (hopefully soon) beyond! Instead of focusing on each person's research, these posts allow readers to learn who these scientists are as people, to counter the public perception that scientists are robotic and unfeeling or scheming to take over the world :) Please let me know if there are other questions you'd like answered, or scientists you'd enjoy reading about!
A huge part of being a graduate student is teaching. A large portion of funding for most graduate programs seems to come from the grad students teaching courses, and I personally feel like it is a just requirement.
Teaching does so much for the students as well as the teacher. The teacher learns guidance, patience, and how to communicate effectively while the students gain experience and knowledge about the material being discussed. It really can, and should, be a win-win situation for all involved, and in my experience I have found that it is entirely possible to set up and maintain positive environments for all involved.
I taught two lab sections of BIOL 110 (see course description above) during Fall 2015 & 2016 as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. While I originally planned on publishing blog posts throughout those semesters, I decided it would be more appropriate to wait until my graduate teaching requirements were fulfilled. Seemed a bit more professional in my opinion, especially to preserve the anonymity of the students I was teaching at the time.
I've also come to really appreciate the concept of science communication. My official teaching experiences were my first steps along the path of realizing the beauty there is in effectively communicating scientific research and principles to non-experts of all kinds. With this new found perspective, I've expanded this section to include my experiences with all kinds of audiences: my lab students, high schoolers, other scientists, general public, etc. That said, I hope you enjoy my stories and experiences as they come :)