I have been interested in education since my undergraduate career. While working towards my undergrad degree in bioinformatics, I designed and presented a short series of lectures at a local assisted living facility focused on building proficiency with technology as a means of independence. The series covered the very basics of computer and internet usage; how to email a picture, write a letter with a word processor, and spot common signs of phishing scams. The hour sessions were, in all honesty, slow, painful, and inexplicably seemed to elicit pseudo-existential questions from the participants like “Where does a window end and another begin?” but ultimately were gratifying. While this by no means constituted a full-fledged-credited-course, I got a great crash course and a reality check in what is involved in creating a small curriculum and how to stay flexible when it all falls apart in the middle.
This type of experience got me more interested in how I could get involved in personal mentorship entering grad school, and over the past year I participated in the Sheldon High School Biotechnology mentoring program, where I answered questions from and just generally got to know a student from Sheldon High in the program interested in bioinformatics and computer science. I now hope to take on similar, more official responsibilities and contribute to our graduate programs educational curriculum as the educational policy officer.
As the educational policy officer, I would first like to build on the excellent foundation Shannon and others have laid through the 2021 GGG298 course. I would want to work with her as she transitions out of the position to review both what she and previous students enjoyed / thought could be improved about the course and poll the incoming cohort to learn what new areas of focus might be of interest to incoming students.
A significant role of the education policy officer is to access internal fellowship applications from current and incoming IGG students. In this effort I would both work to make sure fellowship deadlines are well advertised throughout the IGG community and ensure any evaluations reflect criteria established by the IGG admissions committee and, if administratively possible possible are publicly available to applicants.
Finally, as the educational policy officer, I would focus on the accessibility of IGG courses as we transition back to an in-person model. I was struck recently by this New York Times Opinion piece focusing on the challenges faced by many in “returning to normal.” An essential sentiment being along the lines of “Why were we able to make the world virtually accessible only when it mattered for fully-abled people.” Remote learning offers considerable advantages to many people. We would be remiss not to take this opportunity to improve what is accepted as normal using our experiences from the past year. With input from other IGG students and facility I hope to identify routes to increase the accessibility of our coursework.
Thank you for your consideration, and please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.