Fascinating discoveries define science. My goal as an instructor is to actively engage students with the exciting questions that surround the field of neurobiology. I always strive towards focusing on the relevance of science beyond the classroom. I discuss the impact of science in government and society. Determined to inspire the next generation of scientists, I emphasize that science is not static or limited to textbooks. I teach that science changes rapidly through the curiosity of students and researchers.
In the classroom and the laboratory, I have explored different teaching methods to make learning more accessible to my students. Making neurobiology accessible entails showing students that science is relevant to the general public, from being an educated consumer to understanding basic mechanisms underlying human diseases. Discussing science in the news was successful in stimulating the curiosity of many students. As an instructor, I have established different goals for each course. I make sure to address students on an appropriate level, so that they will realize what they already know, how that knowledge is applied to the task at hand, and what immediate gap in their knowledge we are closing with the material. When teaching neurogenetics and behavior, a neural science elective course, I come prepared to have a dialogue with students about emerging topics in science. I focus on both mastering analytical skills and acquiring comprehensive knowledge on biological topics that are pertinent to scientific research. An important goal of my teaching includes improving scientific communication skills of students. Presenting scientific papers and peer critique encourages students to be involved actively in the learning process.
At New York University, I have had the privilege to be the co-director of the Summer Undergraduate Program (SURP) at the Center for Neural Science. SURP is an NSF_REU program that specifically recruits underrepresented minorities to pursue a PhD in Neural Science. I am also an advisor for the Blueprint Program for Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through Undergraduate Research Education Experience (BP_ENDURE) students at NYU. Both these programs have given me the experience in mentoring and encouraging students of diverse backgrounds to pursue a career in neural science. I believe in programs that aim to increase diversity within the neural science workforce. I feel strongly that a diverse workforce in neural science is essential for scientific progress and the discovery of new innovations.
Through the research match program in the neural science department, I encourage students to gain laboratory research experience. When students pursue scientific questions independently, they gain stronger analytical skills and understand science more meaningfully through first hand experience. Similar to teaching, I approach mentoring a student by recognizing the different backgrounds of many students.
Providing opportunities for students to attend conferences where students encounter and network with other successful scientists of diverse backgrounds also encouraged students. Listening attentively to students and their unique perspectives has allowed me to advice accordingly.