TA Spotlight – Sree Vappala

Photo source: Sree Vappala

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Kizhakkedathu lab at the Centre for Blood Research. My research is on developing new therapeutics for thrombosis without the risk of bleeding. I have completed my integrated 5-year bachelor’s and master’s in biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata.

At UBC, I have TAed BIOL 201, Introduction to Biochemistry for the past three years.

What do you most enjoy about being a TA?

I enjoy the one-on-one interaction with the students. It is rewarding to witness that moment where it clicks for the student. Besides, it is fulfilling to know that you have been a part of this process by guiding them to solve a problem or grasp a complex concept.

What has being a TA brought to your graduate studies experience?

Being a TA has enriched my graduate student experience. It has solidified my knowledge in biochemistry, which comes in handy during my research. It has also helped to strengthen my communication, management, and interpersonal skills. Unlike research, gratification comes quicker while TAing, and this has boosted my confidence and helped me stay positive and motivated throughout grad school.

What opportunities relating to teaching and learning have you been a part of?

Recently I have participated in workshops on Teaching as Research. It was fascinating to bring elements from my research world to the teaching world in improving teaching and learning. Apart from TAing, I am passionate about science outreach and communication. For the past two years, I have been a Future Science Leaders fellow at Science World, where I have developed and delivered biology lesson plans for their after-school program.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love hiking and backpacking. During the lockdown, I have picked up a new interest in gardening. I love spending time growing my balcony veggie garden.

What are your plans following graduation?  

I wish to explore a career in teaching. Additionally, I am inclined to be involved with science outreach to make science and research more accessible to a public audience.

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