I am a student-centered instructor with experience teaching introductory Earth Science laboratory and advanced field courses. The primary objective of my classes is to engage, direct and encourage students to become active learners. As such, my teaching style employs a variety of teaching strategies that are designed to provoke student awareness and cultivate an independent curiosity surrounding Earth and atmospheric science. Students taking my course will leave with (1) a basic knowledge of concepts necessary to achieve student learning outcomes, (2) the ability to recognize, interpret and analyze concepts outside the classroom, and (3) confidence in their ability to explore scientific questions independently. I am capable of teaching various earth and atmospheric sciences courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In particular, I enjoy teaching courses involving the collection of data in the field and/or laboratory. I would develop courses or directed studies where student projects utilize on campus wind tunnels and laboratory facilities and collect internal boundary layer, topographic and sediment transport data in coastal and arid field environments.
Applied courses are an effective teaching strategy that allows students to move beyond theories learned in the classroom, and I would welcome the opportunity to develop my own applied courses as a faculty member. My first exposure to fieldwork ignited my curiosity; I was an undergraduate at East Carolina University. After seeing raw data collected via instrumentation I deployed, I made the critical connection between data collection and theory development. Thereafter, I participated in every field experiment offered to undergraduates at East Carolina University, and subsequently, completed a Master’s and Doctoral degree centered on instrument development and field experimentation. This experience with instrumentation and fieldwork afforded me the opportunity to teach undergraduate students proper field techniques in various environments for several field courses in the Department of Geography at Texas A&M, Field Geography and the Planet Earth Lab. The Field Geography course included: (1) biogeographic sampling of cloud forests in Costa Rica; (2) wave-induced and aeolian transport observations on nearshore bar, barrier systems in Texas and North Carolina; and, (3) mapping fluvial morphology and measuring flow in the Brazos and Navasota rivers in Texas. In each of these examples, my students collected and analyzed field data, and subsequently, presented their projects via a poster or oral presentation. I can offer students an opportunity to observe aeolian processes in field environments or collect data from NASA’s low-pressure wind tunnel at NASA Ames to understand how the dynamics of surface-atmosphere interactions change across planetary bodies.
My classroom teaching style has evolved with experience. I taught a Planet Earth Laboratory (GEOG 213) for 5 semesters for the Department of Geography at Texas A&M. This laboratory course introduced basic physical geography concepts spanning weather, climate, geomorphology, and biogeography. I often introduce a concept by asking the class to find the process. For example, before elaborating on global circulation patterns, I show an image of the Earth and have the students describe vegetation patterns: “Do you see a pattern? Where is the vegetation? Where is the vegetation absent? …Why do these patterns exist?” Questioning students exposes their level of understanding and provokes independent active learning. This technique effectively grabs the student’s attention, priming them to think critically and be receptive of new concepts.
My primary objective as a student-centered teacher is to engage, direct and encourage students to become active learners that can readily achieve student learning outcomes. My classes will challenge students to move beyond basic memorization. Instead, they encourage students to become confident critical thinkers capable of applying knowledge gained in the classroom to their own, individual life experiences.
Courses & Workshops
Spring 2010, Fall 2012, Spring 2013
FIELD GEOGRAPHY, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Field Geography is a course to expose students to data collection and analysis in field environments. For this course, I travelled with students to Costa Rica, the Texas coast, and along the Navasota River. I guided student-led research projects in the form of data collection and assistance with data analysis.
Fall 2010 - Spring 2011
PLANET EARTH LAB, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
The Planet Earth Lab is a laboratory course that is coupled with a lecture-driven course, Planet Earth. Students learned the physical processes shaping the Earth surface and how to apply knowledge gained through in-class experiments.
GEOX: HIGHSCHOOL STUDENT INTEGRATION
GeoX is an integration workshop where highschool students are given an opportunity to explore different career paths and majors at Texas A&M University. I taught a workshop that introduced students on how to measure physical processes in field environments.
AN INTRODUCTION TO MATLAB, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
The College of Geoscience at Texas A&M offered a workshop for students. I taught 'An Introduction to MATLAB' course in this workshop. Students learned simple functions and the functionality of MATLAB, how to fit data to various curves and derive probability density functions from field data.
GUEST LECTURER, FIELD GEOLOGY, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
I accompanied Dr. Ryan Ewing on the annual Field Geology course offered to Geoscience students at Texas A&M University. We explored Canyonlands, Cedar Mesa, and Unaweep Canyon to reconstruct the geological history of the area. I lectured on aeolian processes and how we can examine grain size in preserved sedimentary strata to determine paleo wind speeds.
GUEST LECTURER, COASTAL GEOMORPHOLOGY, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
In this lecture I discussed aeolian processes in coastal environments. This lecture was in the Department of Geography in the College of Geoscience. The goal of the course was to highlight the coupled process of wind and waves in shaping our coastlines.
GUEST LECTURER, INTRODUCTION TO GEOLOGY, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
I gave a lecture that introduced students to windblown sand on Earth and Mars. I gave student an introduction to velocity profiles and how we determine the threshold of motion on Earth, Mars and beyond.