Teaching has always been a dynamic idea to me. Every class employs various techniques and principles so students can have the most effective learning experience throughout the semester. However, this semester was different. I was now providing a resource for students to use to help them succeed in class. Something that has shifted my understanding of teaching during the course of the CUTF was the decisions of what and what not to include when presenting novel ideas. When deciding what to talk about in my videos that apply concepts from class, I always had to be really careful not to present things too advanced that may confuse students. This was the step that usually required the most thought and perspective since I had to think about the student’s current knowledge of the subject.
Which leads me to the value I took out of the project as a whole. Eastmure’s Educational Enzymes gave me the opportunity to write and present about specific biological phenomenon and how it connects with class. Along with this, I learned how to communicate ideas to students without overwhelming them, and how to create effective surveys for data collection. Personally, I have found these two things to be the most useful skills I have developed over the course of this semester through the CUTF. Breaking down large, more complex ideas into smaller, more digestible information can be a challenge, but it is a vital point when trying to teach someone about a certain topic. This is a really important skill for me to master since I eventually would like to become a genetic counselor, where breaking down complex topics is considered an essential part of the job. The other valuable skill I mentioned was writing effective surveys that would produce important data from the project. This was another thing I had initial issue with at the beginning of the semester. I wasn’t sure when to deploy the surveys or how many I should be deploying. With Dr. Gardner’s guidance, I was able to write surveys that were able to measure the actual efficacy of the project and was able to find the correct timing for when they would be launched.
Like I said already, genetic counseling is my end goal, but I have also always been passionate about science education as well. I believe the Chancellors Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship has given me a base on how to pursue both of these things. Though for now, I am planning on continuing my education here at Pitt, while also doing research on Alzheimer’s Disease in a neuroscience lab I am currently apart of.