Educator at heart.
Nearly every aspect of my professional life has included an element of teaching, and these experiences have shaped how I interact with students and manage classes and the learning experience. Since 2000, I have participated in, planned, facilitated, and evaluated health education curricula of varying duration (i.e., two hours up to 10-week long sessions) with and for young people aged 14 to 24. Many skills that I developed while working with hard to reach youth have informed how I engender a respectful class environement — one that promotes learning and sharing. For example, for one peer education program that I directed, an emphasis was placed on health communications approaches so that peer educators were capable of leading engaging community educational workshops on STDs, including HIV, substance use, and negotiation skills. My ability to draw from didactic and engaging teaching activities, address students’ concerns, and provide feedback to improve their performance without damaging their confidence to impart their knowledge was critical to the program’s success.
At the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Studies, I implemented these skill sets when I taught Research Writing Clinical Seminar’s I and II, a 9-month course (2014-2015). The purpose of this nine-month course was to teach a cohort of Physician Assistant’s how to identify a disease diagnosis, treatment or management issue for which there is lack of professional consensus or a lack of guidelines. Students then reviewed, summarized, and analyzed the literature and proposed an evidence-based solution to that problem, culminating in a final paper and presentation to a panel of faculty reviewers. The first cohort I taught, had not yet taken an Epidemiology course, so I modified the syllabus to incorporate fundamental concepts needed to understand and interpret the quality of peer reviewed literature. Drawing from a mixture of didactic lectures combined with engaging discussions to disect peer reviewed articles, the class operated from a strength-based approach to allow students with multiple methods to internalize the information and broader approaches used to formally write research writing. I also allowed space to highlight any research or practical experiences students brought to the classroom to enrich the learning experience for the entire classroom, which solidified theoretical information for that individual and for their fellow students as well.
Because of the varying degrees of experience in the classroom, I incorporated multiple benchmarks, and opportunities to receive feedback from myself and peers to ensure continuous progress on their written work, which also helped students learn how to provide and receive feedback. To support students in developing presentations for a panel of faculty reviewers, I compiled web-resources on a tailored class web-site for their review outside of class in addition to a lecture on preparing academic presentations in an effort to reach students through a variety of mediums. Resources included sample exemplar presentations (Ted Talks), and a variety of technical tools available to preparing effective presentations including an introduction to using Prezi, a collection of graphics and templates to customize PowerPoint presentations, and over-arching presentation “Dos” and “DON’Ts”.
My commitment to young people and education is demonstrated through many years of experience outside of the classroom including the early spring weekends I spent coaching youth in Brooklyn for several years. I began coaching with the Red Hook Little League in part to support young women the first season the league allowed girls to participate. However, I stayed when I realized coaching little league, much like teaching lower-ranked belts while earning my first, second, and third-degree Black Belts, was about influencing how to respectfully interact with one another, how to learn about an interest they loved (or were at least curious about), how to build community, and that tenacity through practice made for better individual players and a team.
Teaching provides an opportunity for continuous learning and growth through a respectful learning environment opperating from student’s strengths, clear pedagogical expectations, and supporting a bredth of student needs. The most effective and influential teachers in my own life, and those I emulate, have been compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about teaching, learning, and problem solving. I will continue to strive to be the best educator possible.
I am qualified to teach a range of public health courses given my public health practice, theoretical, and research training. Some examples include: Principles of Health Promotion, Social Disparities in Health, Principles of Epidemiology, Research Design, and New Media and Health.