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.

Alex Hill

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemical Engineering department. My research focuses on methods to control the nanoscale restructuring of catalytic materials in order to improve stability and activity in a number of applications such as environmental remediation and chemical production. To me, education, science and mentorship provide an opportunity to inspire one another to think in new ways, embrace sometimes scary and unknown challenges and become better learners and achievers in the process. In pursuing education and mentorship, I have been a GSI for ChE342 (Heat and Mass Transfer), mentored multiple undergraduate researchers and served as a mentor for high school students and peer mentor for incoming graduate students in my department. I look forward to continuing to serve and build upon my experiences through the ETC program, where I hope to empower others to inspire and succeed.

Andrea Ventola

I’m a Ph.D. student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. My research focuses on image analysis techniques for various geotechnical engineering applications. I have been a GSI for CEE 345: Geotechnical Engineering, as well as a Peer Advisor for the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). These two experiences have helped me gain a breadth of teaching and mentoring skills that I’m excited to pass onto other student instructors. I have experience designing and leading lectures and laboratory sections, holding office hours, grading, and creating assessment tools. Collaboration, inclusivity, and accessibility are always the core of my teaching.

Ashley Jian

I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering. My research focuses on design, modeling, and fabrication of IIIOxide ultrawide bandgap materials and devices for high power applications. I have been a GSI for EECS 215 (Introduction to Electronic Circuits) here at UM, where I have designed and lead lab sessions, held office hours, and developed assignments. Additionally, I have taught courses on programming languages and signal processing at other institutions. I am excited to serve as an ETC and help GSIs and IAs to develop teaching philosophy and strategy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Robert Loweth

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering. In the past, I’ve been an instructor for ME 489 (Sustainable Engineering and Design), ME 499/599 (FrontEnd Design), and ENGR 100 (Fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering Design). In addition to my GSI experiences, I also work as a Graduate Facilitator for UM’s Center for Socially Engaged Design. My research explores engineering students’ perspectives on the nature of engineering work as well as the design practices that students employ as part of their curricular and co-curricular design projects. I am always happy to support GSIs and IAs in their teaching, so feel free to reach out if you have questions or would like to talk through your experiences.

Sarah Bork

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education Research with a background in Electrical Engineering. My current research centers on engineering graduate students’ emotional experiences. Before coming to U-M, I was a math tutor for over two years, a student instructor for Computer Graphics Using SolidWorks, and a peer-lab monitor for Introductory Electronics for non-ECE majors. Since joining U-M, I have continued teaching as a GSI for EECS 216: Introduction to Signals and Systems, as a GSI for Engineering 100: Intro to Engineering, Continuous Improvement and Operations Management, and as a Professional Development officer for GradSWE. From these experiences, I have been able to develop course content, lead discussion and lab sections, provide summative feedback on course deliverables, and offer instructional support for students in a variety of ways. I am a strong advocate for student-centered teaching practices that are accessible, inclusive, and engaging. I am committed to supporting your goals as an educator in any way I can.