During my time completing the CUTF, as I worked on putting the concepts in the course into a real-world perspective, I’ve developed an appreciation of the research done in chemistry, which is a completely different field from the one that I have built my experience around. Many of the concepts discussed and terms used were foreign to me, showing how translating concepts such that a larger group can understand is also a skill that needs to be developed and worked on. Nonetheless, during this time, I realized how integrated each field was with one another, especially in terms of healthcare, highlighting the importance of having a multidisciplinary background to me. For example, one mechanism to address antibiotic resistance, a major concern in the healthcare field, is through one of the concepts that is foundational in the organic chemistry course.
My experience with the CUTF has emphasized that teaching is also a learning experience. In addition to the project that I have proposed, I had the privilege of holding two separate weekly sessions with other UTUs to help students during the semester. As a result, I was able to directly experience how each student starts from a different foundation, grasping concepts with different methods. Being able to interact directly with the students in a smaller setting from a classroom, sometimes in a one-on-one session, allowed me to not only learn about the students, but also develop specific examples that extended the concepts beyond the classroom and appeared to work for many students, something that will surely help as I hope to continue being a UTU.
One of the most valuable aspect I had with the CUTF is being able to learn directly from my faculty mentor, Dr. George Bandik, on how he viewed teaching and the education field. throughout my time at Pitt, I realized that I hope to attain a position where I can learn from others and also help them learn. As someone with 40+ years of teaching under his name, Dr. Bandik’s experience and perspective was definitely something that I was interested in learning a bit more about, something that I was able to accomplish as we discussed the project and other potential ways to help students.
After this CUTF, I intend to continue helping out with the course, being a UTU for the next semester. In the meantime, I would like to see how the help sessions helped specific students, and if there are any methods that appeared to be more helpful to students to incorporate in my future experiences as a UTU.