Engineering Teaching Consultants (ETCs)

This video answers the following: What kind of GSIs make great ETCs? What do ETCs do? What is the time commitment like as an ETC? What did you take away from being an ETC?

Who are the Engineering Teaching Consultants?

The Engineering Teaching Consultants (ETCs) at the College of Engineering (CoE) are a group of experienced Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) who serve as consultants and teaching mentors to the rest of the GSI and IA population in the CoE. The ETCs are centrally organized through the Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Education and are trained and supervised by staff from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering (CRLT-Engin).

The ETC program in the CoE was founded on the belief that, in addition to mentoring from faculty, developing GSIs could benefit from the unique guidance, support, and experience that peer mentors provide. This relationship provides a safe venue for the exploration of teaching strategies and discussion of teaching initiatives and issues. ETCs are trained to mentor in a facilitative way, with a collegial style of interaction preferred by most GSIs. The nature of the peer mentor-mentee interaction is such that it benefits both individuals and becomes a valuable learning experience for the ETCs as well.

Could I be an Engineering Teaching Consultant?

If you are a graduate student and have been a GSI one or more semesters in the CoE, you are eligible to apply to become an ETC. Applicants need one semester of teaching experience but, more importantly, a passion for discussing and improving teaching practices. No consulting experience is necessary. Please submit applications to baleisis@umich.edu. Learn more and apply here: Engineering Teaching Consultant Application

EVA ALBALGHITI

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am a PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering, focusing on biomineralization for hydrological and geomechanical modification of the subsurface. I became interested in teaching and peer mentoring as an undergraduate at Yale University, where I worked at the Writing Center and the Academic Strategies Program, the latter of which focused on building “soft skills” for undergraduates from under-resourced high schools and non-traditional backgrounds. I also earned my masters’ degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where I learned a lot about effective communication between people of different native languages and cultural backgrounds. Since coming to UM in 2020, I have GSI’d for CEE 428 (Groundwater Hydrology) and CEE 265 (Intro to Sustainable Engineering). I know that I’m not the only GSI who has faced anxiety and uncertainty around teaching, especially in the pandemic era, and I’m excited to work with my fellow GSIs as we navigate these challenges together.

Saaj Chattopadhyay

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am a Ph.D candidate in the Applied Physics program. My research is in looking at nanoscale light-matter interactions one at a time using single-molecule fluorescence techniques. I am particularly interested in the change in trends near gold nanoparticles and if that can be leveraged in bio-sensing. As an undergraduate, I served as lab assistant for instrumentation labs, and teaching assistant for introductory physics and math courses. I also spent a summer conducting physics education research. At University of Michigan, I was a remote lab TA for the general chemistry lab sessions, which served as a unique experience. I am also serving as co-president of the UMich chapter of the American Society of Engineering Educators, and take an active interest in science communication. I have a range of experiences that I am excited to share through the ETC program and look forward to working with GSIs and IAs to find effective strategies for their learning spaces.

Kaylin Jones

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am a PhD Candidate in Environmental Engineering. My research is in the field of ecohydraulics, and focuses on exploring and better understanding the relationship between turbulent hydrodynamics and fishes. I have been a GSI five times, twice for CEE 325 (Introduction to Fluid Mechanics), twice for ENGR 100 (Introduction to Engineering), and once as Instructor of Record for ENGR 260 (Engineering Across Cultures I). I have long held an interest in teaching—prior to holding roles as a GSI, I was a mathematics tutor throughout my undergraduate years, and was a substitute teacher during a break between my undergraduate and graduate education. Through these roles, I have gained experience lecturing, grading, preparing coursework, holding office hours, navigating conflict, and generally becoming more comfortable in my role as a teacher. I believe teaching is truly rewarding, and I hope to help other GSIs find fulfillment and confidence in their position in the classroom.

Timothy keebler

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am a PhD candidate in Climate and Space Sciences, focusing on numerical modeling of Earth’s magnetosphere. During my time at Michigan, I served as a GSI for CLIMATE 102: Extreme Weather, which is a large general education course in hybrid format. I have also been a grader or TA for numerous other classes at both undergraduate and graduate levels while here at Michigan, and a TA for online courses while earning my undergraduate degree. I have some experience with course design and curriculum development, writing a first-year PhD seminar in the CLaSP Department and a 200-level general Earth-space science course. The most rewarding part of teaching for me is the interaction with students, especially when it produces a breakthrough in understanding. I really enjoy office hours! Classroom engagement in hybrid or virtual courses can be challenging, and I’m passionate about making those connections regardless of format. As an ETC, I’m excited to work with other students to facilitate mutual growth as educators.

MARGARET EVA MUNGAI

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I’m a Mechanical Engineering PhD candidate working in the Biped Robotics Lab@Michigan under the guidance of Professor Jessy Grizzle. My current research interests include control theory and experiments for bipedal locomotion and balancing, and the tasks of standing and turning. I received my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Throughout my graduate career at the University of Michigan, I have mentored and unofficially taught multiple students both in and outside the laboratory. I have also led recitation and helped to design and create a project for Robotics 101. Before joining the graduate program at Michigan, I was the chair of the Mechanical, Aeronautical, and Nuclear Engineering Student Advisory Council at RPI where I was involved in faculty hiring, curriculum changes, and graduate seminars. I am enthusiastic about teaching and mentoring and I look forward to working beside you. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

TAMARA NELSON-FROMM

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science and Engineering. My research is in computing education, specifically why and how non-CS majors learn about programming. I have been a GSI for EECS 183 (Programming Concepts) and EECS 493 (User Interfaces) at University of Michigan, as well as a Data Structures TA at University of Illinois, and a former instructor and director at a programming-focused summer camp. Through my teaching and research I have experience in running lab sections, lecturing, developing course materials and assignments, grading, and creating fun STEM activities. I’m looking forward to leveraging my experience and pedagogical knowledge to aid GSIs and IAs in their teaching practice!

DENNIS NIKOLOV

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am a 4th-year PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering. My research focuses on characterizing material properties of soft materials via full-field measurements, and experimental optimization of material testing. I have been a GSI for MECHENG 211 twice (Introduction to Solid Mechanics), MECHENG 382 (Mechanical Behavior of Materials), and MECHENG 235 (Thermodynamics). Additionally, I work with the Center for Socially-Engaged Design (C-SED) on implementing DEI problem-based learning in the mechanical engineering curriculum with the intention to incorporate ethics and societal impact in all ME courses. I have served as both the outreach and mentorship chair for the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Council (MEGC), and am still associated with MEGC and the engineering outreach community, including becoming a Summer Engineering Exploration (SEE) camp counselor that’s run by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). I’ve worked with the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) to mentor incoming underrepresented engineering undergraduates interested in pursuing graduate research, as well as the many undergraduate students that have been in my research lab. Since taking ENGR 580 (Teaching Engineering), I have strived to become the best possible instructor I can be, with a particular focus on effective mentoring, equity-centered teaching, and inclusive learning. I am extremely excited to be of any help to the incoming GSI/IA community.

Emily Sheetz

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am a PhD student in Computer Science and Engineering. My research focuses on artificial intelligence and robotics, specifically how to improve robot manipulation through more advanced reasoning over actions and robust action execution. As an undergraduate at Monmouth College, I helped run computer science labs and served as the general computer science subject tutor. At the University of Michigan, I have served as a GSI for EECS492 Foundations of Artificial Intelligence and EECS203 Discrete Math, and I tutor undergraduate mathematics and computer science courses through the Academic Success Program. I believe STEM education needs to be more diverse and inclusive, specifically for underrepresented groups of students, in order to provide the best educational experience that allows students to succeed. We as student instructors can affect these positive changes for our students, and as an ETC, I am looking forward to providing support for GSIs so we can provide a better educational experience.

Hafiz Sheriff

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am currently a PhD student in the Applied Physics program at U-M with research focus in the area of Optoelectronic Components and Materials. Specifically, I work in the field of Organic Photovoltaics [stuffs that turn sunlight into electrical energy]. Teaching has always been my passion. I have taken the full ChE 580 course (also called ENGR 580) that covers all of the main aspects of dispensing tertiary STEM education and have served as a mentor for the Postgraduate Short Course on teaching. Previously, I taught a couple of undergraduate courses in physics, mathematics and chemistry at the University of Liberia. I am excited to serve as an ETC since I will have the chance to share a valuable mixture of the experiences I have gained here and the learning and teaching experiences I have had in Liberia – my country of origin. My past experiences provide me with some unique perspectives on STEM education that can become useful references to share as we all learn from each other in the effort to make STEM education better.

ELLEN THOMPSON

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

I am a PhD candidate in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department. My research focuses on underground carbon dioxide storage and utilization as a climate change mitigation strategy. I have been a GSI for EARTH 223 (Introductory Oceanography) and for CEE 265 (Sustainable Engineering Principles). These courses have given me experience in leading lab sessions, developing assignments, creating rubrics, managing a grading team, hosting both in-person and virtual office hours, and working with primary instructors. Outside of the classroom, I have served as a mentor in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and in Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honors society. I look forward to supporting GSIs and IAs in creating an inclusive and collaborative learning environment.