Teaching

I love teaching and I have many ideas for courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels (see below).

I received teaching and classroom management training as an Instructor for DiscoverE. This training was for conducting in-classroom workshops and science camps for youth in grades 1-12. I have found this training to be useful in teaching undergraduate students as well.

I recently completed the Future Faculty Program, delivered though the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University. I have learned pedagogy and course design through a series of workshops, assignments, and lecture observations.


Teaching Philosophy

I believe that a great instructor can make any topic interesting. If students find a topic interesting, they are more likely to retain the information and even read beyond the material presented. My mindset before a lecture is “How can I make this information as interesting and engaging as possible?” My experience teaching students from grades 1-12 and at the undergraduate level has taught me how to read the audience, and to use that to engage them in the material. My goal as an educator is to inspire students to be passionate about science, engineering, and interdisciplinary research. From my perspective, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels have similar goals but differ in the approach and expectations.

The first goal of education is to disseminate the material in manner that facilitates comprehension and thoughtfulness. As an instructor, it is imperative to foster critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, and innovation. For undergraduate education, an instructor is there to guide the students in building a foundation of scientific literacy and understanding. From my own experiences as an undergraduate student, too often were we asked to memorize large amounts of material, rather than understanding mechanisms and the reasoning needed to acquire a solution. This applied to both the biology and engineering courses that I studied. Graduate education is about building on that foundation to an even further level of understanding. Graduate students should be able to expand on the topics presented and become familiar enough with the subject matter that they themsleves could teach it to undergraduate students.

The second goal of education is to prepare students for their next endeavour, whether that be future courses, graduate school, or a professional career. This preparation goes beyond relaying information; rather, it should include building communication skills, independence, teamwork, leadership, and confidence. This requires courses to be designed to specifically target building these skills.

Meeting these goals requires effort and passion from the instructor. To best disseminate information, multiple approaches and forms of media need to be used. I learned this while working with students in grades 1-12, but I have found it to be successful with undergraduate and graduate students as well. I find that the most memorable talks from courses and conferences are the ones with videos. Additionally, difficult concepts need to be reiterated in several different ways for them to be fully understood. I found this especially true when first introducing students to the H-reflex. Feedback on what works and what doesn’t can be found through testing. I see tests as a way to determine the level of understanding that the students have, rather than forcing students to regurgitate information or solve overly difficult and unrealistic problems.

Interaction with students can also greatly facilitate understanding and interest. When I was a graduate student studying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, my instructor was extremely engaging and had us play games to introduce concepts. I found this method so effective that I taught many of these concepts in a similar way to a girl’s camp (ages 9-11). Although it is difficult to interact with undergraduate students, especially in introductory courses with larger class sizes, it is still possible to be engaging. Labs also present a unique opportunity to engage students in more hands-on activities and provide a more tailored learning experience.

I am confident that I am able to translate my teaching philosophies into reality for both undergraduate and graduate courses. I am truly passionate about teaching and I believe that it shows when I am giving a lecture. I remember guest lecturing for the Anatomy and Physiology course for engineers. I left thinking “This is what I was meant to do”. I feel the same thrill when I am mentoring students in the lab. I am committed to fair treatment and inclusion of students, and to facilitate a cooperative environment in the courses that I teach. I want students to leave my courses feeling like they actually learned something that they can use in the future, and to have them excited about the amazing opportunities that interdisciplinary science and research can offer.


Courses Taught

Guest Lecturer

BME 553: Rehabilitation Engineering: Assisted Movement After Injury, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta
Topic: Invasive and Non-Invasive Spinal Cord Stimulation
Mar. 2022

Guest Lecturer

86-783: Neural Engineering Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, cross-posted with Mechanical Engineering, Neuroscience Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
Topic: Evoked Responses Part II – Intraoperative Monitoring and Spinal Reflexes
Oct. 2021

Guest Lecturer

BME 553: Rehabilitation Engineering: Assisted Movement After Injury, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta
Topic: Stimulation of the Spinal Cord and Related Structures
Mar. 2021

Guest Proctor

BIOENG 2900: Graduate Fellowships and Proposal-Writing Workshop, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh
Topic: Grant reviewing
Oct. 2020

Guest Lecturer

KIN 302: Human Motor Control, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation,
University of Alberta
Topic: Locomotion: Circuits and Physiology
Oct. 2018

Guest Lecturer

BME 553: Rehabilitation Engineering: Assisted Movement After Injury, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta
Topic: Intraspinal Microstimulation to Restore Walking after Spinal Cord Injury
Mar. 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Guest Lecturer

BME 321: Human Anatomy and Physiology: Systems, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta
Topic: The Spinal Cord and Reflexes
Jan. 2017

Feedback from KIN 302 students

I felt the lecture was great. She was an engaging speaker and obviously is very knowledgeable in the area.

The research done in the area made the presentation really interesting!

If I were in a hardcore metal band I would write a song about the in vitro stimulation because it is so cool!


Course Plans

Neural Interfaces

This course is intended for senior undergraduate and graduate students. It covers devices used to record from and stimulate the nervous system throughout the body including, for example, brain-computer interfaces, functional electrical stimulation, and cochlear implants. Students will be provided with relevant journal articles and will be expected to discuss them during class.

Rehabilitation Engineering

This course is intended for senior undergraduate and graduate students. It covers traditional and innovative rehabilitation techniques for various neural conditions. Topics include assistive devices, physical and occupational therapy, functional electrical stimulation, and virtual reality. Students will be asked to write and present a combinatorial rehabilitative method for a population of their choice.

Biophysical Measurement and Instrumentation

This course is intended for senior undergraduate and graduate students. It covers how vital sign sensors work, electrical signals that can be recorded throughout the body, and neurophysiological monitoring methods. This is a combined lab-lecture course.

I would also feel comfortable teaching undergraduate level physiology, neurophysiology, control systems, signal processing, and machine/reinforcement learning.