Teaching & Mentoring
While at Berkeley, I taught a lot, both as a Graduate Student Instructor (called "teaching assistants" at most colleges) and for various courses as part of the Compass Project. Since coming to Boulder, I have helped mentor an undergraduate honors thesis project.
While at CU, I co-advised the honors thesis project of Elias Euler, a physics undergraduate who was interested in Physics Education Research. In his thesis, he developed a framework that could be used to coordinate between professors' and students' beliefs and practices in a classroom, and he assessed the utility of the framework using classroom observations and interviews with students and professors in several physics courses.
The Compass ProjectAs part of my work with the Compass Project, I co-designed and co-taught a semester-long course on scientific model building and a two-week long course on the conceptual physics of earthquakes. Because these courses were completely designed by fellow graduate students and me outside of the context of the formal physics curriculum, we were able to explore very student-centric pedagogies. These experiences shaped my views of teaching and learning and started me down the path that led me to the Boulder PER group. Courses taught:
- Introduction to Modeling (F11, F12): In this semester-long course, students learned about the role of modeling in science and developed physical models in the context of the ray model of light and their own final project of choice. Students also performed weekly self-evaluations to improve their abilities as students and researchers by honing skills such as persistence, scepticism, and collaboration.
- Conceptual Physics, 2007 Compass Summer Program: In this two-week long course, students built models, conducted experiments, and analyzed real-world seismic data to understand earthquakes and the Earth's interior. This course coordinated with two other courses running during the 2007 summer program: Formal Physics, which focused on the mathematics that describe earthquakes, and Cognitive Physics, which focused on the metacognitive skills necessary to think like a physicist.
Graduate Student Instructor
I was a Graduate Student Instructor for several physics courses at Berkeley:
- H7A: Honors Introductory Mechanics (F06, F07, F08)
- H7B: Honors Introductory Thermodynamics and E&M (S06)
- H7C: Honors Introductory Modern Physics (F05, S08, S12)
- 7B: Introductory Thermodynamics and E&M (S05)
- 8A: Algebra-based Mechanics and Thermodynamics (F04)
- 137A: Quantum Mechanics I (S07)
For my work as a GSI, I was named an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor in 2007 and a UC Berkeley Everyday Hero in 2006. Both of these awards were a result of student action: for the former, students nominated me and commented on my "effectiveness as an instructor, capacity to motivate and inspire students, skills in presenting course material or skills in organizing and developing course material," and for the latter, one or more students singled me out on a questions in the 2005 UC Undergraduate Experience Survey that asked them to describe someone who "made an extraordinary effort to make your undergraduate experience - or that of your fellow students - better, resolved a difficult problem for you, or otherwise [went] beyond the call of duty on your behalf."
For some of the courses I taught, I wrote up sets of notes to supplement the existing course materials: