I was a researcher, but became hooked on teaching when I was the science mom at my kids' elementary school. It was awesome: we dissected owl pellets and sheep brains, hatched chickens, made edible DNA models, and launched air-powered rockets. Since then I have had just as much fun teaching General Biology I and II for Majors, Introductory Biology for Non-Majors, and sophomore-level and junior-level Genetics. I also regularly facilitate interactive biotechnology and teaching & learning workshops for fellow faculty (college and high school) and STEM students of all ages.
You can't learn to drive a car by watching someone else drive it, so why would learning biology be any different? It doesn't work if we work it; it works if THEY work it! It was a little scary at first, turning over some of the control to the students, but once I got the hang of it there was no turning back. Now my favorite thing to do is to give them a group task while telling them "It needs to be loud in here!" Students LOVE the activities, but best of all, I see RESULTS! It's awesome to witness students teaching complex concepts to their classmates in words they can actually understand and remember!
I feel incredibly fortunate to have been honored multiple times by my home institution, Houston Community College, simply for doing what I love best: teaching! Honors and awards have included membership in the first cohort of Innovation Fellows (2018), the Student Engagement Innovation Award (2014), the Chancellor's Gold Medal Award (2011), Recognition for Outstanding Student Evaluations (2006), Recognition for Exemplary Teaching(1997), and Recognition for Excellence in the Classroom (1996). I was also a finalist in the 23rd Annual Christa McAuliffe In Search of Excellence Award (Post-Secondary Category, 2013), and was awarded an Honorary Life Membership from the Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers (2002). I also served as Principal Investigator on three educational grants awarded by the USDA (2006-2012). What I treasure most however are those moments in the classroom when suddenly the light bulb comes on, or when students leave my class feeling newly empowered and ready to tackle whatever comes next!
B.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University
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