Personality and Philosophies

Research and Teaching

I advocate the professor’s roles both as a facilitator, who cross-links students’ initial interests with study material, and as a catalyst in the scientific realm, cultivating students and disseminating ideas to colleagues. My pedagogical experience includes four semesters as a graduate teaching assistant (TA), and I have assisted over 35 undergraduate and graduate students since 2004. Many of the students I have trained came from diverse cultures and different countries, including India, China and Russia. My interactions with them were informed by my three month research experience as an undergraduate in Japan. In the midst of that unfamiliar setting, I perceived myself more clearly than elsewhere, although not from isolation. My mentor provided personal guidance on life as an academic researcher, and I seek to emulate his group’s comradery. When students are new to a location, personal support is uplifting and motivating. I especially encourage group activity outside the lab for foreign visitors, who may be anxious to explore new relationships and their environment. Culture shock is anticipated, and I espouse inclusivity, open discussion, and introspection as common practice, so that learning continues unabated. 

Whichever path a student chooses during and after study, communication will be paramount to their professional and personal successes. I emphasize an assertive dissemination skillset within both writing and presentation assignments. Furthermore, comfort with scientific dialogue will be encouraged during office visits. As an advisor, I adopt an “open-door” policy for mentees. Leading by example and with transparency (i.e., consistent presence in the research lab, involvement of students in the writing process, and sharing analysis of the contemporary literature that I read) inform students' future leadership styles and motivate students in everyday activities. I regard an established framework of learning and research goals, contained in an objective-oriented syllabus or outline, respectively, as a vital compass with which a student and I together can guide their academic direction.

I firmly believe that as a professor, among my primary responsibilities are the assurance of opportunities for students and enhancement of the institutions that I serve. Involvement of students in research promotes experiential and transformative learning and facilitates lifelong interests. I want to establish a rapport as a reliably engaged instigator of academic curiosity and rigorous thinking, not just a plug-and-play port for knowledge. To accomplish this, I am prepared to teach traditional and non-traditional styles of courses while investigating the most efficient pedagogical methods that will reach each and every student. Most importantly, I always give constant feedback and encouragement to further students’ interests and thinking in critical and innovative ways.

Travel and Collaboration

Travel and collaboration are key aspects of my work, as they provide opportunities to build bridges, share experiences and exchange cultures. All of my research experiences have depended on collaboration and travel, either to different departments, to separate campuses, to sites hours away, or to schools in other countries. Recently, I have spanned two branches (Optical Radiation and Radiofrequency Bioeffects) of the Directed Energy Bioeffects Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory and have assisted several students from local and international universities. Much of my graduate dissertation in Bioengineering at Clemson University research was conducted hours away at Oak Ridge National Laboratory Center for Nanophase Materials Science. As a post-undergraduate Chemical Engineering research assistant at University of South Carolina, my experiments were carried out at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. As an undergraduate in Chemical Engineering, much of my work was in collaboration with and performed at least in part at the Chemistry and Physics Departments (for scanning tunneling microscopy) and the Mechanical Engineering Department (for machining and stress-strain tests). And a Repperger Research Internship and two National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates have brought me to the hearts of the United States and Japan. Interaction with other people and places breeds the competitive and friendly dynamics of progress. For that, I wish to continue traveling, exchanging expertise and establishing collaborations. And to expand the purview of my students, they also are encouraged to take advantage of summer internships at diverse, external locations.