Teaching & Outreach

Scientific literacy is important. A basic understanding of physics can make you a better driver, and familiarity with statistics makes it easier to understand exactly what you’re being told on the nightly news. Even more importantly, a good introduction to science teaches problem solving and self-instruction techniques that can serve in any walk of life. I find that piquing a student’s interest in a course is all about showing my own love for science, and encouraging them to learn for the sake of learning.

Here is an inventory of my teaching and outreach activities:

Teaching Assistantships

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Science 1151 (Introduction to Physical and Life Sciences II)
Laboratory instructor: Sheldon Huelin
2 terms (Winter 2011, 2012)
– Assisted students during 3 h laboratory sessions with activies including basic circuitry and thermochemistry
– Lab activities covered various aspects of physics and chemistry
– Marking responsibilities for lab assignments

Science 1150 (Introduction to Physical and Life Sciences I)
Laboratory instructor: Sheldon Huelin
2 terms (Fall 2010, 2011)
– Assisted students during 3 h laboratory sessions with activities ranging from field trips to rock and mineral identification
– Lab activities covered various aspects of earth science and biology
– Marking responsibilities for lab assignments

EASC 4610 (Hydrogeology)
Taught by: Prof. Tao Cheng
1 term (Winter 2011)
– Assisted students with problem sets during 3 h weekly classroom sessions
– Marking responsibilities including answer key creation

EASC 2502 (Introduction to Geochemistry)
Taught by: Prof. Mark Wilson
1 term (Fall 2010)
– Assisted students with problem sets during 3 h weekly classroom sessions

University of Toronto

GLG102H1S Earth Science
Taught by: Prof. Russ Pysklywec
1 term (Winter 2009)
– Taught 2 hour laboratory classes on the following topics: mineral and rock identification, ground penetrating radar, fluid mechanics, recurrence of earthquakes and floods
– Lead field trip group to Don Valley Brickyards to explain glacial history of the area.
– Marking responsibilities for labs, term tests and exam including answer key creation

Teaching Workshops

Memorial University’s Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support program offers Instructional Development Seminars on various aspects of teaching for graduate students. I have attended the following:

Micro-discussions: Facilitating Classroom Learning as a TA – March 2, 2011

Providing Feedback on Written Assignments: Some Suggestions for TAs – February 2, 2011


(research presentations listed here)

Stable Isotope Geochemistry: Isotopic Equilibrium Fractionation
November 9, 2009
Guest lecture for EASC 2502 – Introduction to Geochemistry, a second year geology class at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Statistics in Geology
November 14, 2008
Presentation to a Grade 12 Data Management class at Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute showing some applications of the concepts they are learning in statistics to real geological data. The presentation included hands on activities: linear regression on age and distance of Hawaiian seamounts, and determining grain size distribution of a sediment.

The Geology of the Moon
February 8, 2008
Lecture for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers describing formation hypotheses and the accepted collision theory, as well as how to observe features on the moon in the context of geology.

Other Outreach

Science Fair Judge
Eastern Newfoundland Regional Science Fair — 2010
Bishop’s College Science Fair (St. John’s, NL) — 2010
Toronto Science and Technology Fair — 2005-2008

Program Aid
Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Mining Matters (PDACMM)
March 2-5, 2008
– Helped run Mining Matters workshops for teachers, high school and grade school students at the PDAC Convention

Outreach Volunteer
University of Toronto Department of Geology
– Helped run workshops for elementary and high school students, and for a ROM summer camp, including leading activities with petrographic microscope
– Talked with prospective students at the Geology booth at U of T Day.
– Contributed to the work experiences section of a department recruitment program

Lecturer and Tour Guide
University of Toronto Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
– Developed and delivered astronomy lectures for the general public for the David Dunlap Observatory summer tour program until its closure

Student Advisor
Adaptation and Impacts Research Division (AIRD) of Environment Canada
– Work-Study Student for Dr. Brad Bass
– Acted as advisor to second year students
– Used COBWEB, a multi-agent simulation software, to explore how alterating landscapes affects population dynamics, and to attempt to identify predictors for minimum viable population

Expanding Canada’s Frontiers Symposia, Organizing Committee Executive Member
ECF symposia are student-organized public lectures organized by members of the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, and intended to increase public knowledge of Canadian contributions to astronomy and space science.
– the symposia from 2004 – 2006 were held in Convocation Hall and included the following guest speakers: Prof. Mike Brown (CalTech), Nagin Cox (NASA JPL), Prof. Fran Bagenal (U of Colorado at Boulder), Prof. Ray Carlberg (U of Toronto), Dr. Carolyn Porco (Space Science Institute), Dr. James Rice (Arizona State U), Dr. Laurie Chappell (MDA Space Missions), Prof. Slavek Rucinski (U of Toronto), Prof. Jaymie Matthews (UBC), Astronaut Chris Hadfield (CSA), Prof. Dimitar Sasselov (Harvard University), Dr. Vicky Hipkin (U of Toronto), Dr. Darlene Lim (NASA Ames)

Cosmic Frontiers Lecture Series Logistics Team Member
The Cosmic Frontiers Lecure Series was a public outreach program organized by Prof. Ray Jayawardhana and the University of Toronto Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
– Organized event day at Convocation Hall with nearly 2000 attendants
– Created design for all four event programs
– Designed and maintained event webpage

Educational Website Developer
University of Toronto Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
– Summer Student for Prof. Ray Carlberg
– Created informational websites for the Canadian Thirty Metre Telescope effort, and Supernova Legacy Survey

Neat Ideas