Teaching philosophy: “learning together”

The backbone of my teaching philosophy is that students and teachers should learn together. Teaching is not a one way street where a teacher disseminates and students receive information. The depth of my knowledge in many subjects has been greatly increased by teaching a course. This is particularly true when students ask questions and discussion of concepts and ideas is common in the classroom. This type of bidirectional interaction provides instantaneous feedback and informs both student and teacher of which areas are in need of the improvement or clarification. If I cannot clearly explain a process or concept to a student, then I feel that I either need to improve the way I am communicating the information or I need to think more deeply about the information I am attempting to communicate. I suggest to the students to use this type of communication as a metric for their own progress in a course. If they can effectively explain a difficult concept to a classmate or to me, then they likely have an grasp of the concept or at least are on the right path to understanding.

Seminars and symposia

chair (2013), Pharmacy and Medical Sciences Honours (IHBY) seminar day Served as chair of the 2013 honours seminar day


teaching assistant (2014)
Human Physiology 100 (HP 100) Instructor for six lab sections covering techniques for basic physiological assessment.

lead instructor (summer 2011), co-instructor (summer 2010), Behavioral Ecology of African Mammals (ZOL 490) Developed curriculum and daily management of course. Organized international travel and accomodations while abroad and prepared many of the students for their first international travel experience. Prepared daily lectures and discussions on behavioral ecology while in Kenya May 2011 – June 2011. Wrote and graded tests, quizzes, and homework.

Zoology Department, Michigan State University (MSU)
teaching assistant (fall 2010, 2011,2012), Histology (ZOL408) with Dr. Diana Bello-DeOcampo. Instructor for two lab sections of this upper level course consisting primarily of pre-medical, pre-veterinary, pre-dental and veterinary students. My primary goals are to help the students learn proper microscopy technique and be able to understand how form and function of tissue are related. Many students find this course very challenging and among the most rewarding courses in their undergraduate coursework. I personally found this course very rewarding and I enjoyed learning together with the students.

teaching assistant (summer 2012), Fundamental Genetics (ZOL408 – online) with Dr. Terri McElhinny. My primary function for this course is to assist Dr. McElhinny and the other 7 teaching assistants with logistics of the online course. This course had 210 students from many different institutions around the world. In addition to strengthening my knowledge of genetics, I gained a thorough understanding of how to successfully teach and manage a large online course.

teaching assistant (spring 2011, 2012), Cells and Development (ZOL425) with Dr. Diana Bello-DeOcampo. Instructor for all lab sections of this course. I developed the full curriculum and experimental design for the full semester project in this course. Our project consisted of learning cell culture techniques, stimulating the cells with a mitogen, extracting protein and immunoprecipitating the protein, conducting protein gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Upon successful completion of this course students should be ready work on lab-based undergraduate research projects, gradaute school in biological sciences and work as a laboratory technician.

teaching assistant (fall and spring, 2008-2009), Organisms and Populations (BS 110) This was an entry level course in Biology of science majors. I was responsible for two lab sections each semester. Lab skills learned in this course include protein electrophorsis, basic microscopy and fundamental concepts of biology and ecology




Guest lectures for university courses

Advanced Research Skills, University of Tasmania (2018)
IHBY Honours Seminar, University of South Australia (2015)
Cancer Biology, University of South Australia(2013, 2014)
Ecology, Michigan State University (2012)
Analyzing Anthropomorphism seminar, Michigan State University (2010)
Democracy and the Environment, Michigan State University (2010)
Clinical Problems in Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Michigan State University (2007)
guest lectures for K-12 students and general audiences
Ultra running and outdoor education, Mt. Barker Rotary Club (2013)
Michigan Alliance for Gifted Education, Michigan State University (2011)
Darwin Day, MSU Musuem, East Lansing, MI Michigan State University (2010)
Advanced Biology course, Plainview High School, MN (2007, 2009)
Hyena biology, Basecamp Maasai Mara, Kenya (2009)