Thank you for your interest in my teaching portfolio! Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am currently in the final stages of my graduate work in the Microbiology Doctoral Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with an anticipated graduation date of June 2013. I moved to Madison from New Mexico in 2008, and despite the drastic change in weather, the transition was easy because Madison is such an amazing city! I love to run, and have completed several marathons and one ultramarathon during my tenure as a graduate student. I work in the laboratory of Dr. John Mansfield, and my research is centered upon the immune response to the African trypanosome, with a focus on CD4+ Th cell memory. Although my cohort in the microbiology program had only a two-semester teaching practicum requirement, I have been blessed with an advisor that has allowed me to pursue additional teaching opportunities. I enjoy immunological research, but I also feel that teaching is a necessary skill for every scientist to develop, if only to better convey his or her research. Because of my interest in teaching, I became involved in the UW-Madison Delta Program, which is part of the larger Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) Network. This portfolio has been completed in partial fulfillment for my teaching certificate through Delta (please see required cover page PDF attachment).
Delta is centered upon three main pillars: 1) learning-through-diversity, 2) learning communities, and 3) teaching-as-research. Throughout this portfolio, I have tried to reflect the teaching experiences that have contributed to my views regarding each of these pillars, though they are constantly growing and evolving. I used to have a very limited definition of "diversity," in that I really only considered it to mean that my students would come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Since then, I have realized that there is no limit to how one defines diversity, and I have had the opportunity to work with students of myriad ages, races, interests, and abilities...and I can honestly say that they have taught me more than I have taught them. I learned the importance of "learning communities" both through developing coursework centered upon cooperative learning techniques, as well as through my own experiences within the Delta learning community. Through Delta, I began to see a core group of people show up in my teaching classes, as well as events like roundtable dinners. I have always been able to count on this group of people to bounce my ideas off of them and receive feedback in an utterly nonjudgmental environment. Their abilities as teachers have humbled me, and they have helped me to critically analyze my own methods as a teacher. Lastly, I had never approached teaching from a "teaching-as-research" standpoint until completing my Delta internship project (see "Teaching-As-Research" tab for more information). I realized that I needed to break free from the mentality that my job was to develop a perfect lesson plan that I could use from year to year; rather, teaching should be a constantly evolving process. Although all of these Delta pillars were things that I had thought about in a less formal way from time to time, Delta brought them to the forefront of my mind.
My teaching experiences have included a diverse array of subjects and students. They include leading biology workshops as an undergraduate, instructing immunology courses in graduate school, teaching for the UW PEOPLE program summer session, ESL tutoring, and a number of outreach activities. I hope that my portfolio will give you a good idea of my teaching and mentoring philosophies, what I've learned through my experiences, and my qualifications. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!
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