Should I stay or should I go, now?

by M. Wallingford

Author with family at West Seattle“I want to go swim, mom! Let’s go!!” It’s mid January and I’m taking a walk with my four year old son who LOVES the beach.  Instead of saying no, I tell him that I don’t want to swim because it’s too cold. “You can go ahead and take off your socks and shoes and put your toes in, but it’s pretty cold”.  He does – giggles and squeals of excitement emanate through Madrona Park. He runs back, sheepishly telling me that it’s too cold for swimming and puts his socks and shoes back on, but he has a huge grin on his face.  We keep walking and meet my partner who has our baby bundled up in a stroller.  Continue reading

The many ways STEP helped my academic career

by Mikaela Stewart

I applied to the STEP program to gain teaching experience. What I got was so much more: a reassurance that I would thrive at a primarily undergraduate institution, tools that I still use for developing effective and fun courses, and active-learning techniques that give me energy in the classroom. STEP really helped me make my career goal into a reality.

Continue reading

Every piece counts: Skills I gained from STEP helped my job search in unexpected ways

by Patrick Nygren

Like many who start PhD programs and go on to postdoc positions, I was focused on the academic world, and the big question for me was: teaching or research? As my projects in the lab progressed, I found myself much more interested in communicating with others about the background and implications of my research rather than doing the research itself. I applied for the STEP program, reasoning that if I enjoyed conveying information, teaching might be a good fit. But teaching is so much more than conveying information. In the first STEP meetings we learned about Bloom’s taxonomy of cognition and how to help facilitate deep engagement—rather than just receiving information—with concepts. When my group and I started developing and planning our course, I quickly found that creating curriculum involves thinking strategically about how to be clear and concise, yet leave space for deep insights and student engagement.

Continue reading