Engineering Teaching Consultants

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 at the CoE 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 developing GSIs could benefit from the unique guidance, support, and experience that peer mentors provide. While all GSIs have access to mentoring from their advisors or other professors in their department, the peer mentor relationship provides a safe venue for the exploration of teaching strategies and discussion of teaching initiatives and issues. ETCs in the CoE are trained to mentor in a facilitative way, a model that appeals to their own sense of their role, and approaches the collegial style of supervision preferred by most GSIs. Additionally, 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.

Lauren Biernacki

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science and Engineering, where my research focuses on integrating security protections in computer architectures. I have served as an Instructor of Record for EECS 370 (Introduction to Computer Organization) and EECS 601 (Introduction to CSE Research). As an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, I spent many semesters as a laboratory instructor for a Digitial Logic course. Through these experiences, I have gained knowledge in modifying curricula, designing exams, delivering technical lecture content, and teaching in both large and small classroom settings. I am also passionate about making classrooms more engaging and inclusive. As an ETC, I look forward to supporting other GSIs and IAs in their teaching endeavors and learning alongside them throughout the consultation process.

Laura Biester

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science and Engineering, where my research focus is natural language processing and computational social science. During my time at the University of Michigan, I have spent two semesters as the Instructor of Record for EECS 198 (Discover Computer Science). As an undergraduate at Carleton College, I also spent time as a teaching assistant for multiple courses in the introductory sequence. Along the way, I have gained experience in many aspects of teaching, including lecturing, grading, and designing assessments, and I am looking forward to leveraging that experience to help GSIs and IAs troubleshoot problems in the classroom. In addition to my passion for teaching, I am always looking for ways to make STEM education more inclusive, and hope to brainstorm with GSIs and IAs about how to make their courses more inclusive.

Saaj Chattopadhyay

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.

Nick Diskerud

I am a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. My research pertains to the study of the effects of preheat temperatures and exhaust recirculation on the geometry of turbulent flames. I have been a GSI for AERO 325 (Aerodynamics) here at U-M, where my responsibilities as part of the instruction staff were to hold office hours and review sessions. Outside of that course, I have had years of experience tutoring students in a broad array of topics, and I have also performed recitations and grading services for courses at another institution. I believe formulating and providing a comprehensive STEM curriculum to students of all backgrounds is an ongoing endeavor. I am still growing as an educator myself, so I look forward to what I will learn by working with the GSIs and IAs in the College of Engineering.

Margaret Eva Mungai

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.

Pedro Puente

I am a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering with my research being focused on resource recovery from waste streams. I got my masters from UM in 2015 and went back to Ecuador. My last position was as a lecturer at the University of the Armed Forces of Ecuador where I taught General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. I started my PhD at UM in 2020 and I have been a GSI for CEE366 Environmental Engineering Laboratory. I have experience on teaching, grading, office hours and conflict resolution; online and in-person. I am willing to share my knowledge and learn about the IAs and GSIs experiences. When in the classroom, I find it very enjoyable to connect with students and have discussions on topics that will enrich everyone’s learning process. It is part of the position to have doubts and unexpected challenges, we are here to help you navigate through it.

Emily Sheetz

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

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

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.