My teaching approach centers on a equity and inclusion. I use a constructivist methodology that uses students’ diverse backgrounds to build new knowledge through inquiry. Every student I have taught is a scientist at heart. My goal is to unlock their inner scientists so they can explore and learn through experimentation.
Most recently, in 2021, I taught Physics 202 – Research in Nuclear Reactor Physics at the University of Puget Sound. In this course, we built a nuclear fusion reactor. This was a student-led, project-based course. You can learn more about it at www.upsreactor.com. We gained a lot of useful skills, ranging from how to use basic hand tools to welding aluminum to designing and building a ultra low-pressure vacuum system. Students demonstrated their knowledge through blog posts of their own choice and by building functional sub-systems of the reactor. It has been extremely rewarding to follow (and lead) these students through their learning experience.
In 2018-2019, I taught 6th grade science. We covered electromagnetism, biology, and climate & weather. In that time, I worked on obtaining my public secondary teaching certificate. This experience taught me how to engage with students on a deeper level, earn their respect, and catalyze student achievement. It was a profound learning experience for me.
At the university-level, I have taught Bio 160, Bio 171, and Bio 101 multiple times. These lab-based courses are the first and second semesters of the biology major, and allowed students to learn the basics of evolution, ecology, natural history, and experimental design. As the senior instructor for this course, I worked with the lecturer and new graduate student TAs to develop a curriculum that equitably served our undergraduate students through inquiry and experimentation.
I was also the Education Director for the TeenFlight Program. In this position, I oversaw instruction for 30+ high school students building an airplane. I taught weekly ground school lessons on aviation and helped students obtain their sport pilot licenses. I also mentored students as they built a Van’s RV-12 two-seater light sport aircraft. During my time with the organization, we built two aircraft over a period of two years.
Through the Upward Bound program, I taught a flight-based summer STEM program to marginalized at-risk 9th-11th graders. These students came from predominantly rural areas throughout Montana and engaged in a 6-week college-prep program. I used the 5E constructivist model to engage students with a wide range of prior knowledge, skills, and abilities.