Sharon is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Physics working in the field of experimental condensed matter physics. Her research mainly focuses on the class of materials called transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) and studies atomic and magnetic structures and dynamics of this system using neutron and X-ray scattering techniques.
Sharon participated in the Teaching module before becoming a PhD Plus Liaison. She was part of the Executive Committee of SPICMACAY, a Contracted Independent Organization (CIO) on grounds working for the promotion of Indian Classical music and culture amongst the youth. She has organized numerous programs as a member of the organization in the past four years which helped in bringing together UVA community members together for a rich cultural and artistic experience. Serving as the PhD Plus Liaison for 2019-2020, Sharon makes efforts not only to encourage active communication between graduate students and the administration but also to bridge the gap between TA’s and students in STEM disciplines. Sharon is interested in pursuing research positions in academia in the future.
Q: Why did you apply for the PhD Plus Liaisons Program?
A: I found this program as a platform to collaborate with experts and participants from diverse backgrounds in developing ideas and conducting activities to improve the Teaching experience for graduate students at the University. I also believe this would play a pivotal role in my professional development and help in building the necessary skill sets towards being an academic professional.
Q: What are you doing or planning to do as a PhD Plus Liaison?
A: As the teaching Liaison from the Physics Department, I would like to brainstorm ideas and implement activities that would help my fellow Graduate Teaching Assistants in having a fun and effective teaching experience. Along with Yiqing Song, who is also a PhD+ liaison for teaching, I organized a workshop on “Motivating non-STEM students to succeed in STEM classroom” in the Fall semester, 2019, where we primarily focused on the importance of motivation in teaching context and ways in enhancing motivation in students. This was a successful interactive platform for TAs from various STEM disciplines to come together to discuss and reflect on the role of Motivation in their own teaching responsibilities. For this year, we are planning to reach out to TAs of all disciplines and conduct a survey on “Inclusive teaching practices”. We also plan to compile the inputs and create an online platform comprising of resources and personal experiences on Inclusive Teaching.
Q: What professional skills are you developing or hope to develop as a PhD Plus Liaison?
A: I am hoping to acquire skills in organization and communication, and to gain more experience in teamwork, collaboration, and leadership.
ABOUT PHD PLUS LIAISONS PROGRAM
The primary role of the PhD Plus Liaisons is to bring the professional training provided by the broader program into specific disciplinary/departmental contexts and to communicate the needs of specific departments and disciplines back to the broader program. Liaisons communicate with students and faculty in their home departments about their peers' professional development needs, helping to gather departmental feedback to be used for the development and improvement of the program and conferring with liaisons in other departments across the University of Virginia. In addition to supporting their fellow graduate students and informing the continued evolution of the PhD Plus Program, Liaisons themselves benefit from sustained access to training, mentorship, and support in a professional focus of their choosing.
Over the following months, PhD+ Liaison highlights will provide an opportunity to get to know the Liaisons for Academic Year 2019-2020. Learn more about these PhD student leaders, why they decided to participate in PhD Plus Liaisons program, their professional development goals, and how they are collaborating with the PhD Plus program and their departments.
We will open the Call for 2020-2021 Applications for the Liaisons Program in Spring 2020.