- The State of Technology (current)
- Academic Proseminar (current)
- Computational Foundations I (3 semesters)
- Neuroscience of Superpowers (1 semester)
- Introduction to Systems Neuroscience & Behavior (1 quarter)
- Herpetology (1 Semester)
- Foundations of Engineering (guest lecture)
The State of Technology
Social & Environmental Discussion-Style Course, Instructor
ATLAS Institute, CU Boulder, 2020-Present
Technology does not exist (or get created) in a vacuum. To best prepare our young creators and researchers for the world, this course explores historical, current and predicted social and environmental problems involving technology.
Modeled after Science Magazine’s Special Edition State of the Planet, which describes the 8 biggest current and predicted problems, this course takes aim at tech-involved social problems, with a focus on four main units:
Human-Computer Interface (AI, assistive tech, robotics, UI), Mechanical Technology (agriculture, commercial and industry), Medical Technology, and
Entertainment technology (art, creative, social media).
For each unit, students will consume current articles, videos and podcasts discussing history, and current social and environmental issues. These issues can include:
- human rights issues, (including but not limited to racism and discrimination),
- climate change
- ecological impacts (including but not limited to impacts of plastic waste, rare mineral consumption).
In-class discussions will focus on how these issues came about, what perpetuates them, how they impact lives, and how we can be mindful in our research and development to actively stop or solve these problems.
The class concludes with an exploration into how tech (surprisingly) solves problems (e.g., the use of VR to reduce implicit racial bias, the use of trendy, vibrating shoes to help deaf dancers) and how we can make tech not only solve problems, but promote accessibility, inclusion, and minimize environmental impacts.
By the end of class, students will come away with:
- Substantial knowledge of history of technological developments.
- Interpretation and analysis of current practices and goals of technological fields in the scope of social and ecological impacts.
- Practice in remaining open-minded when considering their research approaches and impacts (willingness to un/learn in the face of changing standards and needs)
- Practice in evaluating problems and elements of interconnectivity (other related problems), as well as speculating solutions for problems that exist between technology and society
- How to approach their research and creative developments with green, anti-racist and inclusive practices
Graduate-level Professional Development Course, Co-Instructor
ATLAS Institute, CU Boulder, 2020-Present
A discussion-style class with brief lectures, expert panels, and research projects aimed at helping students to be competitive and successful in today’s job market. The course is broken up into four units:
- Ethics: A focus on implicit bias, responsible conduct of research (RCR, as required by NIH and NSF grants), production of eco-friendly research, intellectual property management, authorship, and designing research
- Communication: How to give compliments, constructive critiques and conduct peer reviews for publications, how to negotiate needs, how to resolve conflicts (including across social and power strata), and how to give presentations
- Professional Development: Job preparations, including grant writing, panels with successful people in both industry and academia, CV and resume development, and how to interview well
- Work-Life Management: A focus on successful self care practices, formation, use and function of student unions, and family and medical leave.
Students complete weekly assignments and participate in literature reviews, elevator pitches, career-related presentations (of choice), and grant proposal components.
Computational Foundations I
Introduction Course for Creative Coding, Instructor
ATLAS Institute, CU Boulder, 2019-Present
A project-based course that uses Python to teach foundations of programming. Using the turtles library, students are taught how to make object-oriented programs with good code quality, while encouraging and rewarding creativity. With lectures on the historical role of women in computer sciences, students are taught social history programming. Students are also encouraged to reverse engineer (to their skill level) how programs and apps they use every day work, and reflect upon the social impacts of programming (attention economy, the value of personal information). To teach students inclusivity practices, extra credit is given to any accommodations made to diverse communities (e.g., large text for young/old users, colorblind-friendly palettes, flashing screen along with sound for the Deaf Community).
Students are also encouraged to explore creative coders and are asked to reflect on how they searched and the demographics of who they found. The final month of the course is dedicated to a final project, which has topics that are based on their expressed career interests (e.g., marketing, design: interactive ad; data science: REST API visualization). In order to understand their newfound knowledge and its application in their lives, I close out the class with a comparison of languages, job searches that look for Python OOP and Q&A with programmers, designers or marketing managers in the field.
By the end of the class students are able to:
- Read, write and evaluate quality code (Python), and pseudocode
- Create object-oriented code
- Utilize and identify elements of computational thinking
- Develop accessibility into their programs, and find it in others
- Search for and cite code snippets
- Strengthen skills as an independent coder and also
- Work in groups to develop larger projects
- Describe, explain and present their code and programs.
Neurobiology of Superpowers
Systems Neuroscience and Dynamic Control Course, Instructor
Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Fall 2018
A lecture and discussion-style course of my own creation. This course was an applied systems neuroscience, with extensive focus on comparative biology and biomechanics. Comic book and mythical super powers are used as motivation to:
1) compare physiology, nervous systems, and behavior across Animalia
2) survey current technological developments that may help modify human physiology and nervous systems.
Students learned the nervous system roles and locomotor system components required to achieve a particular behavior with a given body form. Weekly assignments required researching current bioengineering and neuroengineering methods and techniques. This research was applied to science communication practices, where students contributed to the course blog, with the aim of communicating to readers with a high school science education.
At the end of the course students were able to:
- Compare physiology and nervous systems of a singular behavior between species
- Research behavioral functions across organisms, to aide in bioinspired design
- Describe basic control/nervous system demands for a given behavioral function and physical form
- Understand population and timing encoding in nervous systems, and examples of both
- Identify limitations of control, based on constraints of nervous and physical systems
- Research current bioengineering developments for specific applications.
Introduction to Systems and Behavioral Neurobiology
Lecture & Lab, Graduate Teaching Assistant
Neurobiology and Behavior, University of Washington, Spring 2010.
This course introduced neuroethology, the mechanisms by which nervous systems produce perceptions and behaviors. Teaching assistant responsibilities involved teaching two laboratory sections, hosting office hours, grading lab reports, practicals and course exams.
Although the course syllabus and lab assignments were set by the course administrator and professor, I wrote short problem sets, augmented weekly rubrics to improve retention of scientific writing methods, and fixed an artifact in a recording program, which required modification of related course assignment. I also assembled a guide for students explaining sections of science papers (abstract, materials & methods, etc.) for students to use as a resource when writing for the class and beyond.
Lecture & Lab, Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
Biological Sciences, Cornell University, Fall 2006.
This lecture and lab course covered the evolution, ecology, behavior and physiology of amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna). Undergraduate teaching assistant roles involved assisting with labs and lab practicals and some exam grading.
During this TA appointment, I developed my use of the Socratic method. When students needed assistance, I would help guide them to the answer through a series of logic-based questions. I have since found this practice to be an excellent way to help students practice the logical deductions that are universally applied in research.
Foundations of Engineering
Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, November 2018.
“A first-year sequence to introduce general engineering students to the profession, including data collection and analysis, engineering, problem-solving, mathematical modeling, design, contemporary software tools, professional practices and expectations (e.g. communication, teamwork, ethics), and the diversity of fields and majors within engineering.”
My lecture described the application of engineering techniques in biology. I specifically highlighted how modern biological research investigations mandate applied engineering; from tracking software required to quantify locomotive behavior patters to biomimetic robotics, and from electronic devices to record and amplify signals from neural tissue to virtual reality used to explore behavioral control.