I have had several opportunities to serve as a mentor to chemical engineering undergraduate students outside the classroom. I guided two senior-level students in separate but related projects which aimed to design, test and optimize calculators of various thermodynamic properties. Another particularly enlightening experience for me has been mentoring a professorial assistant for the last two years as he navigates various aspects of my research project. His work has ranged from experimental data collection and analysis to writing codes to process large amounts of data from molecular simulations.
My role included:
- Establishing experimental and coding protocols for the students to follow
- Planning work schedules
- Training and providing the students with the tools to explore their respective projects
- Delegating tasks designed to challenge the students and keep them interested
- Working with them to solve issues that arose in their work
Through these experiences and my time working as a teaching assistant in our department, I developed an interest for teaching and collaborative problem-solving. This motivated me to pursue the FAST fellowship program which combines my passions for research with teaching. I am currently working on a study which aims to improve students’ understanding of the energy balance by implementing an active learning module in a junior-level thermodynamics classroom. I have also reflected on and developed an ever-evolving teaching philosophy. The latest version of this can be seen here.