The journey of learning often starts with a vibrant intellectual spark
The classroom and lab should be an environment where students are empowered to begin engaging in learning as a life-long process. For many, initiating that journey requires a spark; being challenged to solve complex problems, engaging with unfamiliar material, and constructively debating environmental policy with classmates. What awakens an interest in learning is different for everyone. It is the role of a good teacher to cultivate multiple opportunities for students to fall in love with learning and research.
Science educators must prepare students for 21st-century jobs
Many people have a mentor or teacher that helped them find their career path. Great teaching and mentorship requires knowledge and preparation on course content, but it also requires preparing each student for a successful career. As an educator, it is my goal to widen the employment sectors in which science is represented and to strengthen the sectors in which it is already present. In the undergraduate classroom, I emphasize developing critical thinking skill and appreciation for the scientific method. I help students learn to value and use science, whether they ultimately become lawyers, business owners, politicians, or professors. At the graduate level, I think we must prepare students for diverse career trajectories in science.