Teaching is the heart and soul of the university setting; it's what makes the college environment unique and special in contrast to that of the national or corporate laboratory. All too often, there isn't enough incentive and reward for great teaching at universities. However, I enjoy the challenge of explaining abstract concepts in intuitive and concrete ways, and I look forward to contributing to my university's community in future teaching endeavours.
When teaching engineers, I believe it is important to connect physical phenomena, mathematical models, and device design principles. Only by understanding the interplay between these ideas can one be a successful engineer. In the context of optics, this means linking the fundamental physical and mathematical concepts used to model light and its interaction with matter; these powerful theories form the basis for the design and function of many optical devices and systems in all areas: biology, medicine, and telecommunications to name a few. As engineers, sophisticated models give us the benefit of being able to simulate and optimize the performance of any candidate optical design before it is ever built.
Pedagogy is rarely addressed as part of graduate training, especially in science and engineering. How can assistant professors approach teaching his/her first class on a new campus sorely lacking in this professional training? Taking "Science and Engineering Course Design" and designing the undergraduate course "Introduction to Photonics" with Professor Audrey Ellerbee in the winter and spring of 2012 was a remarkably rewarding and eye-opening experience. Read