Teaching Philosophy


The question we ask are more valuable to our education.  Toddles ask questions (sometimes too many), it’s how we learn, but often as they get older questions are shutdown, going unanswered.  This unfortunately teaches us to be cautious when asking question which prevents us from learning.  As researchers we try our best to overcome these prejudices, but sometimes we fall into the same pitfalls. Once, my advisor was asked by a student if there’s a physical example of the commutative relationships between the angular momentum operators.  He never thought of it before, and he found a book with a great example and realized that it was a missing point that many students needed to help their learning.  As an educator it’s important to foster these questions, because students will learn so much more.

As researchers, sometimes we need a young point of view.  They ask questions that sometimes goes beyond our knowledge or better yet the understanding of our world today.  To understand my next example, I have to say: I feel we are all students in all fields all the time.  People specialize in things, but that doesn’t mean an artist doesn’t use math for example.  So when I read this article of how neutrinos research leads to a discovery in mathematics, I see a student of math asking questions that affect our greater understanding.  Just because that research came from research in Physics doesn’t mean that person was any more privy to  finding this basic principle of Math. 

To truly understand something, you must be able to teach it.  It comes to no surprise to anyone who has taught that this is a the case.  People learn in different way, a good teacher know what they’re talking about, a great teacher is the one who can talk about what they know in different ways.  Teaching pushes your understanding, it finds the hole in your knowledge, and when you are teaching a student with a different background than yourself, it’s important to make the topic relate. 


Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy Laboratory – CHE 357, SBU (2018 Fall)
Optical and magnetic resonance spectroscopy are used to investigate the structural, dynamic, and quantum mechanical properties of some basic chemical systems. Emphasis is on the quantitative measurement of molecular parameters and transformations. Students would work in groups of 3-4, and select an experiment from several choices. A full lab report was expected at the end of a four week period. This class had 3 professors and 2 TAs. Each of us would oversee an experiment during the period but would be expected to help others. As a TA we were expected to develop a rubric and grade the student’s pre-labs which were handed in week 1 for each 1 month long period. TAs were also trained, and expected to maintain instruments with the guidance of the professors. Instruments included: FT-IR, GC-MS, Table-top NMR, X-ray diffraction, Raman Spectrometer. Additional experiments included recording the visible absorbance spectrum of I2, the visible transmission spectrum of N2, and the ultra-fast UV spectrum measuring the concentration/kinetics of Quinine in various acidic solutions. Experiment’s description often needed some updates, as well as helping students with more complex computational analysis techniques beyond just Microsoft Excel.

General Chemistry II – CHE 132, Stony Brook University (2017 Spring)
General Chemistry IB – CHE 131, Stony Brook University (2016 Fall)
These two classes were developed in the same way, so I’ll describe them both here.
Stony Brook Chemistry requires all graduate students to TA their first semester. I was asked to teach the recitations for the general chemistry course. As a TA, we all had 3 sections of 28-32 students. They would work in groups of 3 at a computer following the POGIL method developed in-part at SBU by Dr. Troy Wolfskill. At the computer students would work on a program together to develop on concepts presented in the lecture. TAs were expected to monitor and assist students in these activities. I was never fully satisfied with the preparation many of my students showed before starting, and found I’d be answering the same questions over and over again. I took 5 – 10 minutes before they began to bring my students in to discuss the activity. This boosted student’s confidence, gave a new pedagogical explanation, or just a different approach which resonated with the students more: which I found to be a key to success. I would avoid turning it into a lecture, and preferred working on similar problem as a whole group, and giving tips on how I would approach the problem.

Tutoring – Various High School Chemistry and Physics Students (2010 – 2016)
I had several students over my time after High School Graduation who asked me for tutoring in Douglas County and Jefferson County School Districts in Denver, CO.


Stony Brook University TA Training

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