BSc Honours Bachelor of Science in Physiology, Western University
Office: Medical Sciences Building, Room 207
Additional Research Information:
While I have stepped away from my own research program and wet lab to focus on education and educational research, the classroom is my laboratory now. I enjoy investigating ways to enhance the learning process, particularly at the early undergraduate level.
I started to love science and academia in my third year of undergraduate studies when I was able to take courses that I enjoyed. During that time, I took courses such as physiology (PHYS 3120), pharmacology (Pharm 3620), histology, and anatomy. That is when I realized that I loved science. Then I went on and completed a 4th-year thesis research project and I enjoyed the lab environment. I guess I caught “the research bug”. I thought it was a lot of fun to explore new things, and I saw how my research could make a difference in patient’s lives. The environment in our lab was very supportive and fun, and it challenged me as a person to grow a lot. After the completion of the thesis project, my supervisor, Dr. Jim Lewis, asked about my interests in a Master’s degree to continue my research in acute lung injury. A M.Sc. or Ph.D. was not originally on my radar, but I decided to pursue graduate studies. It was a wonderful experience; I learned a lot of research skills, critical thinking, and continued to grow.
As for teaching, I had a chance to be a TA in my first year of graduate school in the course that is now Phys/Pharm 3000E. The next year I was asked to be a TA for a second-year physiology course (Phys 2130), and when I started the job, I caught myself thinking that this is what I wanted to do forever. I was teaching students during tutorials where sometimes the room would exceed capacity. Even then, students would sit on the floor and still be engaged in learning. Moments like that made me believe that I could do it. After my Ph.D., a teaching position came up at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia; I took it and ended up staying there for 8 years. However, one day a friend and colleague from Western contacted me to let me know that there is a position available at Western University and encouraged me to apply for it. My family was in southwestern Ontario, and I also knew that Western University has an emphasis on teaching excellence. I was excited to be working alongside like-minded people who also have a passion for teaching, so I applied and ended up in this amazing department for years now.
My teaching goals are to always make the learning process fun and thought-provoking. Moreover, I try to create a really good story around the content; this way students do not see it as a lecture full of facts, but rather, they can apply it to their own lives. I like interacting with my students and having a chance to mentor them. I love being in front of the classroom and giving lectures, and I like to think about ways to makes content engaging. But it is one-on-one meetings with students that remind me how rewarding teaching is for me. I always try to learn who my students are, what they struggle with, what they enjoy, and that excites me.
Introduction to Human Physiology (course manager and instructor)
|PHYS 2130||Human Physiology (instructor)|
|PHYS/PHARM 3000E||Physiology & Pharmacology Laboratory (instructor)|
|PHYS/PHARM 4980E||Seminar and Research Project (course manager and instructor)|
|PHARM 3620||Human Pharmacology and Therapeutic Principles (instructor)|
|Dentistry 5102||Dental Pharmacology (instructor)|
|Dentistry 5161||Human Physiology (instructor)|
Most Rewarding Moments
The most rewarding moments stem from the rapport I build with my students. When I was still teaching at St. Francis Xavier University, I once received an honorary “University Mom” award from the graduating class. I thought it was funny, but it also meant a lot to me because I remember myself as an undergraduate student being super insecure. So, if I can help even one student to feel less alone and more engaged in learning, that’s amazing to me. Also, one of the most rewarding experiences is being appreciated by my students. I like the challenge to be as creative as I can, and I find it satisfying to try new things in the classroom whether they succeed or not.
Advice to Students From A Professor’s POV
Life is a journey and you do not need to have it all figured out in your 4 years of the undergraduate experience. I always tell students to be willing to take risks, try things out of their comfort zone, and find out what they enjoy. Every student is unique, and some organizations and opportunities will be blessed with how unique you are and what you bring to the table. Career options are endless and one bad grade does not define you.
Interests outside of Academia
I am a runner and I like cycling. I also love geocaching because who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt! I pretty much like anything that gets me outside. While I find myself inside a lot because of the nature of my job, it is the outdoors that refreshes and recharges me.
Vice-Provost Award for Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning, Western University
USC Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Western University
The Vice-Provost Award for Excellence in Collaborative Teaching, Western University
Schulich Educator Award in Undergraduate Teaching, Western University
Outstanding Teaching Award, St. Francis Xavier University
|2004||Esme Walker Award in Physiology, Western University|
|2001||George W. Stavraky Teaching Award, Western University|
|2001||Graduate Student Teaching Award, Western University|