Yiqing is a 4th-year PhD student in the Astronomy Department. Her dissertation research is to study how stars form differently in colliding galaxies compared to normal galaxies like the Milky Way. Yiqing is also part of the astronomy outreach organization Dark Skies, Bright Kids in which she helps assess the effectiveness of the outreach activities and apply for funding opportunities.
Yiqing participated in the Communicating Research and Teaching modules. In the future, Yiqing wants to be a professional astronomer at a scientific institute. As a Teaching Liaison, she has co-developed and co-facilitated a workshop for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) in the STEM fields to help them better assist students who are new to teaching their subjects. Currently, she is in the process of developing resources on inclusive teaching for GTAs and graduate instructors.
Q: Why did you apply for the PhD Plus Liaisons Program?
A: I have always been nervous about teaching because of the great impact it could have on individual students. I wanted to learn more about how to teach effectively and inclusively that could benefit students from all kinds of backgrounds.
Q: What are you doing as a PhD Plus Liaison in the context of your department and the Teaching area of focus?
A: I am currently developing a teaching workshop targeted towards Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) in the STEM fields. I often see students from non-science backgrounds getting very stressed and frustrated in unfamiliar territory, and I hope this workshop could help the GTAs better assist the learning journey of their non-STEM majored students.
Q: What professional skills are you developing as a PhD Plus Liaison?
A: Over this next year, I hope to develop more resources about strategies for inclusive teaching especially in STEM education where explicit/implicit bias has been consistently discouraging underrepresented student populations from staying in the field.
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.