Population Genetics Simulation and Visualization

In Fall 2023, my colleague Andrew Bortvin and I offered a course (AS.360.111) for undergraduates interested in understanding population dynamics and in building a foundation for coding techniques. Our course leveraged the simulation software SLiM; in class, we introduced new functions and commands, and then students worked independently or in small groups to 1) develop simulations to address certain questions, 2) test different parameters, and 3) answer big-picture questions about what they observed and what else they might try. Our course website includes the assignments, slides and papers of interest, and in-class live-coding; raw files are available on our GitHub.

Modeling Biological Populations

I designed a new course for the 2023 Intersession at Johns Hopkins (AS.020.313), along with a grad student in my lab, Andrew Bortvin. Our course introduced students to coding in Python, developing models for populations (ranging from invasive species to proliferating cancer cells), and comparing their models to real-world data. It was designed for students of all levels (including freshmen) and departments; no experience with biology or coding necessary. We offered “advanced” exercises for those students with significant experience in coding or modeling prior to our course. I wrote a blog post about the experience, which you can read here. Check out our syllabus and find our course materials (lecture notes, coding demonstrations, exercises and answer keys) on our GitHub.

Teaching Assistant

Quantitative Biology Bootcamp

In September 2023, I was a Teaching Assistant for the Quantitative Biology Bootcamp (AS.020.607) course offered to first-year graduate students in the Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology and Biophysics PhD program. I guided students individually and in small groups through the fundamentals of Python and bash, along with implementations of these in genomic analysis. I gave students personalized feedback on their assignments using git and GitHub. I developed resources for the course available here.

Quantitative Biology

In Fall 2021, I was a Teaching Assistant for the Quantitative Biology (AS.020.617) course offered to first-year graduate students in the Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology and Biophysics PhD program. Students develop their own implementations of widely-used computational biology tools (primarily using Python and Bash) for essential studies including assembly of genomes, analysis of transcription factor binding and motifs, detecting genome variation, measuring expression of genes, and understanding genome evolution. I was a tutor for the course in Fall 2022 the corresponding spring semester, Quantitative Biology and Biophysics (AS.020.674), in 2023.

Developmental Genetics

In Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, I was a Teaching Assistant for the Biology Department’s undergraduate Developmental Genetics Lab (AS.020.340), where I co-taught an asynchronous section of the course. I was awarded the 2020-2021 Victor G. Corces Teaching Award from the Department of Biology, and I was a 2021 Finalist for the Excellence in Teaching Award in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Other Involvement

Teaching Certificate

In January 2023 I completed Johns Hopkins’ Certificate of Completion, through which I pursued extensive training in pedagogy and evidence-based teaching practices, course design, and assessment. My favorite sessions have been a three-part course on Ungrading, where we learned and discussed effective means of giving feedback to students, beyond assigning a number. I also enjoyed the three-day Teaching Institute, especially the sections on assessment, active learning, and course planning. I am pursuing further teaching training through workshops offered by the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) and the JHU Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation (CTEI).

Teaching Institute

In 2023 and 2024 I was a facilitator for groups of 5-10 PhD students and postdocs from Hopkins and other universities through the three-day Teaching Institute at Johns Hopkins. In this role, I offered guidance on student course design proposals, collected and shared feedback from other group members on each participant’s presentation, and supported their design of an inclusive, detailed course syllabus and example day of instruction.

Communicating Science

For the last three years I’ve hosted a workshop on peer editing for the Biology Department’s Communicating Science course (AS.020.619) for PhD students. Students gave feedback on a peer’s Specific Aims (following the convention of the NIH’s F31 grant application). The class then discussed the feedback they gave and received, outlining what worked and why. Students do one more swap, applying what they just learned. They then review one more set of Specific Aims for their homework that week. See a detailed breakdown of that workshop (and the rationale for peer editing), along with downloadable sample slides here.

Teaching Assistant Orientation

I had the opportunity to lead an orientation session for new TAs (usually first- or second-year PhD students) at Johns Hopkins alongside Alex Gittens, a Chemistry PhD student, in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. We covered topics including TA-ing as part of your training, managing the relationship with the professor in charge of the course, and grading, among other things. See highlights here.

Georgetown University Writing Center

I loved writing in college, and I was nominated by a couple of professors to apply to work in the Writing Center. Our training included shadowing experienced tutors in their appointments as well as completing a 4-credit class, “Approaches to Composition”. It was one of my favorite classes in college - we learned about pedagogy, practiced writing, and got a ton of work peer editing. I worked as a tutor for three years as an undergraduate. I offered one-on-one sessions ranging from 30-60 minutes, working with undergraduate and graduate students on all steps of the writing process - from brainstorming, outlining, and drafting to review and editing. I especially focused on scientific writing. I was later Director of Partnerships for the Center - helping organize clinics across campus (Career Center, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Biology Department) where students outside our typical clients could work with tutors and experience collaborative writing.