The interdisciplinary nature of the field of Science & Technology Studies draws students from a variety of backgrounds to my classroom. My teaching philosophy involves exposing students to new lenses and skills needed for critical reflection of their work as future scientists, physicians, and engineers (or of their daily, human relationship with Science); not only do I consider their futures as ethical actors in these fields, but also as socially aware and inclusive participants within our own classroom.
More than any other goal in my work as an educator, I believe that the ability—and willingness—to consider the co-production of science, technology, and society can influence the very questions we ask and the ethics we demand of ourselves and others who hold varying degrees of power. While my teaching reflects my own experience and research interests in agricultural science and food studies, my primary goal and responsibility is to provide students with the skills, encouragement, and time to develop their own voice for articulating their stories.
As both a student and a teacher, I believe that students must be excited by and engaged with a specific topic in order to maintain a commitment to relentless practice of the craft of writing. By creating an intellectual space that fosters research and productive argumentation, the writing process will follow. I take this to heart in my own teaching philosophy. The writing I ask students to produce reflects the interdisciplinary nature of STS. This means that, in addition to analyzing different films, stories, and texts in the field, students will become familiar with building effective arguments and conducting research in a variety of genres.
In both my own research and teaching, I use the university itself as a laboratory, relying significantly on class fieldtrips and tours, as well as on discussions with scientists, historians, and librarians we have access to. I encourage students to think of these stories, people, and archives as both tools and objects of research, and together we conceptualize, discuss, and write about them from different (sub)disciplinary lenses. With a little effort, science can be an accessible topic through which to accomplish these broader goals: No matter how indirectly, everyone is connected to their food, the environment, and medicine, and has their own stories to share and voices to develop.
Teaching has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my graduate student career, and I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to learn from my students as I, too, work to craft my own voice.