Teaching

Enthusiasm is contagious! I believe this statement holds true for my style of teaching. The natural world can captivate us and evoke our innately human inquisitiveness. I seek to facilitate students’ advancement of knowledge of the natural world by encouraging reasoned thought, and by including active learning techniques and hands on experience in the field, laboratory, and classroom.

My teaching experiences are rooted in the United States, Fiji, Canada, and Romania.  I have instructed audiences of varying ages, educational backgrounds and cultures.  Through these experiences, I have come to believe that my teaching is fluid; it’s constantly evolving based on the learner’s experience, the cultural and social norms of the situation, and by adapting to the constant advancement of science and learning technologies.

In September 2014, I was presented with the Simon Fraser Biology Department Teaching Assistant Award.  Nominated by my Insect Ecology (BISC 317) students for “knowledgable, competent, and dedicated teaching”.  I am honored to receive such an award!  The most rewarding part of teaching this class is watching my students eyes open wide as they learn about and grow to enjoy insects.  In the beginning, many of my students’ wear gloves to dissect a locust or hesitate to go after a dragonfly with their insect net,  but in no time, all bets are off!  …Gloves are thrown aside, innocent bystanders are trampled in order to catch “another Order for my collection”, and excited outbursts abound, such as (one of my favorites), “WAIT… aphids can photosynthesize!? Tell me more!”.  For me, teaching isn’t just teaching, everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student.  Thank you, 317, for teaching me to be a teacher.  Many thinks to everyone!!

TEACHING

2016-2017                               Lab Coordinator and Instructor

Ohio University- Introductory Biology (1-credit course, approx. 700 students)

Instruct, coordinate, oversee, schedule, and prepare 32 lab sections with 24 teaching assistants (TAs), and 5-6 lecturers. Edit, revise, write and teach cellular, molecular, organismal anatomy, ecological, and evolutionary lab methods.  (In total I have designed and executed 5 entire labs, and created a lab manual for use in BIOS 1715.) Coordinate between lab and lecture. Train, supervise, mentor, and evaluate Teaching Assistants.  Prep, organize, and conduct weekly meetings with Teaching Assistants. Reasonable for safety compliance (Intro Bio personnel and students).

Faculty, Graduate, and Undergraduate Lab Instructors for Introductory Biology Labs (BIOS 1705) Department of Biological Sciences, Ohio University
Cheng Qian, Lead Graduate Lab Instructor, winning the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Teacher Award, Ohio University

Fall 2011, ‘12, ’13 & ‘14            Lead Lab Instructor

Simon Fraser University- Insect Biology Lab (3-credit course, approx. 50 students).

Designed, lectured, and lead laboratory exercises, composed and supervised exams. Taught methods of composing posters and evaluated student performance in poster projects. Taught methods of collection and curating insects. Graded students.

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Insect Ecology Field Trip, University of British Columbia Forest Reserve, 2013 (Photo: Sean McCann)
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Insect Ecology Field Trip, University of British Columbia Forest Reserve, 2013 (Photo: Sean McCann)
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Insect Ecology Field Trip, University of British Columbia Forest Reserve, 2013 (Photos: Sean McCann)

2005                                               Teaching Assistant

SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry- Elements of Entomology (3-credit course, approx. 50 students, instructor: Dr. S. A. Teale).

Designed and supervised laboratory, field exercises, and composed exams. Graded insect collections and papers.

2003 – 2005                                  Instructor

U.S. Peace Corps- Rain Forest Eco-tourism and Marine Protected Areas: from the bottom up (public education; 500+ participants).

Identified stakeholders. Networked villages, stakeholders, government offices and outside interests. Taught local community members how to identify terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Designed and implemented transect surveys.

2003 – 2005                                Biology Teacher

Savusavu Secondary School- Biology and Chemistry (grades 9-12; 200+ students)

2002                                               Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

SUNY Oneonta- Entomology (3-credit course, approx. 50 students, instructor: Dr. W. Harman). Supervised laboratory, exercises and reports, and graded exams.

 

MENTORING

2016-2017        PACE (Program to Aid Career Exploration), Ohio University. Part-time supervision of 1 student (Ayden Wilson) in fly pollinator research: Research Design, Research Technique, and Research Reporting.

Ayden Wilson, PACE undergraduate research assistant crowdsourcing data on flower foraging flies.
Ayden Wilson, Ohio University PACE undergraduate research assistant crowdsourcing data on flower foraging flies #PhotoBombingFlies
Aiden Wilson’s poster won 2nd Place for Sustainability at Ohio University’s Student Expo, April 7, 2017!  Download a PDF of her poster here.

2013-14             Undergraduate Independent Study Semester, Simon Fraser University. Full-time supervision of two students (Warren Wong and Courtney Eichorn) in three 5-credit courses: Research Design, Research Technique, and Research Reporting.

2012-15             NSERC Undergraduate Research Assistant, full-time student employees (Maia Smith, Jennifer Avery, and Asim Renyard).

2012-14             Undergraduate Research. Simon Fraser University. Part-time supervision of 3 students (Alysha Martins, Courtney Eichorn, and Arlan Benn) in 3-credit research course: Research Design, Research Technique, and Research Reporting

2011-16             Volunteer Research Assistants, part-time supervision of six students [Faraz Chattha (High School), Tamara Gubash (Simon Fraser University- Graduate), Jason Lawrence (Simon Fraser University- Undergraduate), Courtney Eichorn (Simon Fraser University- Undergraduate), Steven Ogilvie (Simon Fraser University- Undergraduate) and Ayden Wilson (Ohio University-Undergraduate].

Undergraduate Research Assistants
Simon Fraser University undergraduate Research Assistants: (top, left to right) Tamara Babcock, Jason Lawrence, Jennifer Avery, Asim Renyard, (middle, left to right) Emma Van Ryn, Maia Smith, Alysha Martins, Arlan Benn, (bottom, left to right) Warren Wong, Courtney Eichorn, and Steven Ogilvie.

OUTREACH AND WORKSHOPS

Miller, S., and B.S. Brodie. Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Workshop, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio (26 August 2016)

Brodie, B.S. and Wilson, A. Bug Jobs! Earth Day Celebration at Morrison-Gorden Elementary School Land Lab, Athens, Ohio, USA (April 22, 2016)

Brodie, B.S. and Popescu, D.V. Ecology of Longhorn beetles in a traditionally maintained landscape. Evaluarea Integrata a Starii Mediului (Integrated Environment Assessment), University of Bucharest,  Iron Gates Natural Park, Romania (June 4, 2015)

Brodie, B.S. Multi-modal foraging and communication pathways of blow flies. – 3 Minute Thesis, friendly event with University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University winners at Tapestry Retirement Community, Vancouver, BC (April 11, 2014)

Brodie, B.S. Ox-eye daisies allure pollen-seeking blow flies, Lucilia sericata, with visual and semiochemical Cues- Think Again Interdisciplinary Seminar Series, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC (March 24, 2014)

Brodie, B.S. Aspiring to be a Role-Model: Mother, Scientist, Mentor, Teacher, and Expatriate. Outreach Blog at http://www.bekkabrodie.com (Since January 2014)

Brodie, B.S. Science Spooktacular, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC (October 2013 and 2014)

Brodie, B.S. Beekeeping. Sustainable Income Generating Projects, United States Peace Corps, Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji Islands (September 2004)

Brodie, B.S. Learning adventures in environmental and agricultural quality. SUNY Oneonta, Cooperstown, NY (June through August, 2000 – 2002)

Think Again Seminar Series
Think Again Seminar Series, March 2014
Think Again Seminar Series, March 2014
Think Again Seminar Series, March 2014

Download my full CV and Teaching Philosophy.

12 thoughts on “Teaching

  1. Bekka you were a great teacher in Insect Biology you made it really easy to learn in lab and went above and beyond to help us grasp the subject material. I also appreciate all the extra time you put in to help us out with our poster presentations.

  2. Bekka was an amazing teacher for Insect Biology! Bekka always took time out of her schedule to help students and ensured that the lab material was well understood. In addition, Bekka was very passionate about what she taught and created a positive learning environment in lab. Thank you Bekka for making Insect Biology such an incredible course!

  3. Thank you Bekka for all you did for us in Insect Biology. You would always answer all questions and would ensure that the students understood thoroughly, (often helping us through tedious, long and complex keying of obscure insect species), your attitude in this regard was highly conducive to not only learning the prescribed material but a desire to understand the material more deeply than required. Seeing you love what you do, in addition to the advice you gave me, steered me in the right direction for what I want to do as a career which will undoubtedly have positive ramifications throughout my life. Above all, you were enthusiastic and charismatic which made learning infinitely more enjoyable.

  4. Bekka was a fantastic TA for insect biology. She spent a lot of time helping all of her students with one-on-one teaching. Her explanations of concepts were easy to understand and very helpful, and it was clear that she genuinely cared about how all of her students were doing in the class. She also supervised me during my Undergraduate Research course, and gave me valuable assistance, mentorship, and feedback with my project. It was an extremely valuable experience for me, and would not have been possible without Bekka. Thank you so much for all your help!

  5. Bekka was one of the best TAs I have had at university. I found her lab to be something to look forward to every week. She would take the time to answer your questions and make sure you understood the concepts. Not only is she very knowledgeable and approachable, which makes it a lot easier for the students to learn, but she is passionate about what she does. I would definitely recommend Bekka to anyone that has the opportunity to learn from her. Thanks Bekka!

  6. The purpose of a TA or supervisor, above educational guidance, is to inspire their students with interest and excitement about their education. The reason I enjoyed working with Bekka so much is because of her ability to excel in this regard. It was always obvious that Bekka was passionate about her area of expertise, which motivated many students—myself included—to perform their best.

    As a supervisor for my undergraduate research, Bekka was continually improving my ability to perform science. She taught me how to develop a hypothesis and target it effectively with a thorough and unbiased experimental design. While allowing me to be an independent scientist when I felt comfortable doing so, I was not short of her guidance and support when I needed it. Honest with her feedback, she provided much in the way of constructive criticisms, which have helped move my career forward.

    Bekka was very approachable and helpful as a TA, and she knew the course material like the back of her hand. Able to gauge an appropriate level of guidance, she optimized the amount of learning while minimizing the amount of frustration that students experienced.

    Thanks, Bekka, for starting off my scientific career with such a bang!

  7. Bekka is more than just a TA, she is an amazing mentor, friend, and person. Her down-to-Earth personality makes her so approachable whenever I had a question, or needed clarification on a certain topic. Her ability to translate and explain complex information was very easy to understand, especially for students that never took an entomology course before. It is obvious that her passion for teaching is so genuine, which ultimately motivates students to reach their goals.

    I never thought I would enjoy insect biology -especially hearing stories where I had to dissect and touch the insects with my bare hands! But week after week, I found myself going to labs earlier and staying behind because I was so intrigued by how the material was delivered by Bekka. She helped me brainstorm ideas for my Poster Project, and by the end of the semester, I was awarded with the best poster in the lab (research question and experimental design)! I never thought I would achieve something like this.

    Bekka is very knowledgeable about the material and is always willing to assist others in a calm manner. Her constructive criticism and guidance allowed me to remain intrigued in the class without feeling overwhelmed. I would definitely take another class with Bekka if she was the TA.

    Thank you for such an amazing semester!

  8. Bekka’s motto “you gotta do, what you gotta do” amongst other idioms, reflect her attitude and determination on who she is. If you get the chance to meet her, maybe you’ll pick up a couple of them too. This characteristic and work ethic motivates and inspires her students.

    At first glance you might think that its her enthusiasm or her vast knowledge on the subject that makes her a great TA or mentor, but it was more than that, it was her dedication and attitude that made her exceptional.

    Apart from the countless hours she sets aside for her students, her honest criticism or “no beating around the bush” attitude made her one of the most sought after critiques amongst students and peers. This approach to problems was something I appreciated and respected on numerous occasions as I worked on my ISS Honours project.

    In my independent project, Bekka was always available for guidance and support, which led to more concise and thorough experiments within my project. While conducting my own experiments, Bekka was always open in sharing her own research goals and ideas that inspired thoughts of my own. As I witnessed her tireless work ethic on her own projects, it also motivated me in my own. In the end, my time with Bekka has led to coauthorship in the publication of that said project; and it will always be one of my most memorable moments.

    Although she is in Romania now, I still cherish our time together as a student and a friend. As I pursue a career in academia and try to “line my ducks up in a row”, I will always look to my experience with Bekka as a reminder.

    It was a blast and pleasure getting to know you.

    Thank you Bekka.

  9. Bekka’s greatest strength as an educator is probably how adaptable her methods are; she’s mastered the art of knowing when to push you to your potential, and when to let you struggle through something on your own. As both a TA in the 317 class and a mentor for my independent research project, she always made time to assist me and offer guidance or advice. She really puts her full attention to her students’ concerns and projects which is a huge reassurance when you are learning new things.
    Doing field work with Bekka was always a great experience- she’s so easy to get along with, and again, was very adept at giving you the tools you need to make intelligent decisions on your own rather than just feeding you answers.

    Bekka is a huge reason why I had so much success in the 317 lab and during my independent project, and for that I’ll always be very grateful to her.

  10. Bekka was the Teaching Assistant for my Insect Biology lab and then my mentor for my Undergraduate Research project.

    As a TA, Bekka was always helpful, and interested in showing the students tricks and tips for insect identification. Her passion for insect research was contagious and Insect Bio became my favourite course. I enjoyed the labs so much that the next semester I assisted with a research project Bekka was working on. This was my first research project, and I didn’t always know exactly how I should proceed. Whenever I was in doubt, Bekka was around to answer my questions. She taught me techniques on how to rear my insects, gave me the skills to think about how to ensure my experiment repetitions were randomized, and spent time critiquing my final paper.

    I am very grateful for my two semesters with Bekka, as the experience has opened doors to many other research positions.

    Thanks!

    1. I first encountered Bekka as my TA in insect biology. Her role as TA was to run the laboratory portion of the course. It goes without saying that Bekka is an amazing teacher, I attribute much of my success in that course to her.

      She was patient, encouraging, and her passion for the subject was infectious. She was well versed on the subject matter and able to present the material at the our (the students) level of comprehension. Instructions were always clear and concise; and labs were always well organized.

      But, more importantly Bekka actually cares for her students. So much so, that when she overheard me in class one day; expressing concern that I had neither the grades nor experience necessary to get into grad school, she offered to take me on as a volunteer research assistant and eventually became the supervisor of my own undergrad research. Thanks to Bekka, I am approaching graduation with all the tools (good grades, experience, publication, a killer CV, and a stack of references) necessary to forge my own career in science.

      As post-secondary education tends towards impersonal student-faculty relationships, I count myself very lucky to met Bekka and to have been her student. I strongly believe that all faculties need more people like her.

  11. I was very fortunate indeed in having had Bekka as a TA for Insect Biology– so patient, warm, and above all, knowledgeable. What was great about her was that she never gave you any answers, which she held in abundance, but rather guided you towards them, an approach that made personal discoveries much more meaningful. I was lucky again to have spent over a year with her, after my class was finished, when I volunteered on her (many-faceted but strikingly cohesive) blow fly research project. I learned so much from her, not just about the insects themselves, but also, about scientific research and experimentation in general–lessons I was able to use in my own project. If I had any degree of success in my own research, it was due in large part to the contributions that Bekka made to my education.

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