At the Francis College of Engineering, I am prepared to teach classes fitting my background and experience. With my interdisciplinary experience in both traditional and environmental engineering, I look forward to integrating sustainability concepts into traditional engineering courses and/or develop new courses. I will design courses that fit in the department curriculum, suit students’ backgrounds, encourage interdisciplinary-thinking, and develop problem-solving skills.
I find Cengel & Boles Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach to be the best book to teach Thermodynamics because of great visuals and practice examples which include renewable energy. For Heat Transfer, I will include how the choice of material in building envelope affects climate change impact and concepts of passive and zero energy buildings. I will design courses that fit well into the department curriculum, suit students’ backgrounds, encourage interdisciplinary thinking, and develop problem-solving skills. It is my priority to increase climate and sustainability education requirements, broaden climate awareness and education among the University of Massachusetts Lowell undergraduates, and inform their personal sustainability opportunities and lifestyle practices. First, I want to create more opportunities for introductory classes that are environmentally and sustainability focused. I will propose a life cycle assessment (LCA) interdisciplinary course that will include manufacturing supply chains and energy production and distribution. Also, I will propose interdisciplinary courses including Energy and Environment, which will focus on evaluating impacts of fossil and renewable energy systems; Sustainable Heating, Cooling, and Refrigeration Systems, which will focus on refrigeration systems in food supply chains and healthcare; and Zero Energy and Carbon Neutrality, which will focus on strategies to achieve 2050 carbon neutrality targets. Finally, I want to continue my efforts in improving how and who we teach sustainability. I will develop a project-based course on Mechanical Engineering (ME) & Sustainability, where students will work either with organizations or on projects that are important to them because I think project-based courses are important for students to learn about sustainability and become agents of change as shown in my research about project-based course. Quantifying students’ positive impact on sustainability (i.e. handprint) is part of my current research. I plan to incorporate outcomes of that research, including tracking and quantifying, and I will establish a quantitative assessment of the students’ impact on sustainability. My prior teaching experiences and MIT’s Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program compelled me to focus my courses on developing students’ content knowledge and skills; using praxis, inquiry, and investigation; including relevant and real-world challenges; providing students with authentic feedback to achieve the learning goals; gaining students’ employability skills; and fostering teamwork. Where applicable, I will interweave my research into the content of the course so that students not only gain the requisite background information but also have real-life examples to connect their knowledge to.
My teaching has been influenced by my education, professional development, and teaching experiences at Harvard Extension School and MIT. Also, my teaching strategies and philosophy were further shaped through presenting and moderating panel talks, mentoring, and personal experience by having a teacher as a parent. I have prior teaching experiences in Heat Transfer (MEEG 2303), Introduction to Materials (MEEG 2303), and Industrial Ecology and Materials (3.081-3.560). As a postdoc, I have been a Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Life Cycle & Supply Chain Sustainability Assessment (ENVR E-151) course at the Harvard Extension School. I am currently developing and teaching an online course Understanding Cost and Environmental Impacts of Photonics Manufacturing for the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics.
My teaching philosophy may best be described as a strategy to inspire students to get viscerally involved in their learning experiences and to encourage those who have faced social, economic, gender, and environmental injustices to act as real agents of change. In my teaching, I use storytelling to equip students with basic concepts; teaching to develop skills, providing guidance and mentorship they will not forget; collaborating with students to find solutions to real-life problems. By viewing real-life crises, students get more engaged and develop specific problem-solving strategies.
My goals as an educator are: to educate through high-quality course materials that encourage critical and systems thinking and develop translatable skills; to empower by nurturing students’ motivation to learn and enhancing their confidence; and to engage by creating a safe and inclusive classroom environment that integrates their beliefs and interests within the university’s cultural setting. My lectures are student-centered, multi-disciplinary, include hands-on learning, and address climate anxiety.
Student-centered. I prioritize my goals for student learning and mastery over covering a certain amount of content. I focus my courses on developing students’ content knowledge and skills; using praxis, inquiry, and investigation; including relevant and real-world challenges; providing students with authentic feedback to achieve their learning goals; gaining students’ employability skills; and fostering teamwork. This approach is important because students will have to apply their learning to real-life project assignments and case studies. I switch between lecturing and small group activities, which helps students be active listeners and solvers in the class, and absorb more content during the lecture.
Multi-disciplinary. I will develop multidisciplinary thematic activities based on the student interests and learning opportunities for students so they can also learn about each other’s disciplines. Also, I will invite guest lecturers that can show students different career opportunities in sustainability.
Hands-on learning. I firmly believe, hands-on learning is important for students to learn about sustainability and become agents of change. Last two semesters I observed and researched an MIT Sloan project-based course called Business Sustainability Laboratory (S-lab) and concluded that S-lab made a measurable impact on sustainability. I will implement my findings and recommendations to improve measurability and handprint tracking into my project-based courses. Also, I interweave my research into the content of the courses so that students not only gain the requisite background information but also have real-life examples to connect their knowledge to.
Teaching affectively. Because sustainability has a multidisciplinary nature, it can be an alienating experience for students. I acknowledge teaching about sustainability and climate change can create anxiety. Affective learning emphasizes students’ feelings and attitudes. I pay close attention to recognize where my students are coming from and why they might struggle. What helped the most was to expose students to different teaching and learning methods, stimulate discussions, encourage all students to speak, and provide opportunities to learn in teams. One exercise that resonated with me and can help us all unite is to create a timeline with predictions of future climate change impacts over 100 years and ask students to think about where our family or ourselves will be in 2030, 2050, and then put marks on the timeline, read the predicted events, and have an open discussion about it.
Mentorship. Between graduate school and postdoc, I mentored more than a dozen students. As a postdoc, I got funding for several undergraduate students through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP). My students provide bi-weekly self-assessments about their goals, accomplishments, barriers, needs, and suggestions.