Spring 2017 is my third semester as a Learning Assistant, and I intend to do it again next year. I have worked in lectures, labs, and active learning classrooms as an LA for Geol 101 and 102, giving me access to a variety of teaching styles and strategies. The exact type of work you do as an LA varies with who you’re working with, and I’ve done a little bit of everything! As a Geol 101 lecture LA, I wrote up review sessions, held office hours, and worked one-on-one with students who had limited science education to bring them up to speed. In labs, I helped prepare samples, worked actively with students as they worked through topographic maps or identified rocks, and helped discuss new strategies for teaching non-science majors difficult or unfamiliar scientific concepts. This semester I’ve had the unique and exciting experience of working in the Active Learning section of Geol 102 with Dr. Laura Lukes. I met with her several months before the semester began to discuss the schedule of the course and plan overarching lessons. I’ve since been able to see how our plans work in practice during ‘lecture’ while directly communicating with students.
Being an LA has given me a new appreciation for teaching and helped introduce me to some wonderful students and professors. There are few things more rewarding than getting to see someone learn to love the subject you put so much time and effort into, especially when they come into the class with no science background at all! I highly recommend applying- you’ll learn more, do more, and meet more people who can help you reach your goals.
– Brenlee Shipps, Learning Assistant for GEOL
Under the direction of the STEM Accelerator faculty, the LA Program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to help their peers succeed in College of Science classes, work closely with a faculty member, and deepen their own knowledge of a subject. The LA Program also supports faculty who are teaching COS courses. Students typically serve as an LA for a class in their major that they passed with an A or B.