TA Spotlight – Maisie Musor

Photo source: Maisie Musor

Hi! I’m Maisie and my pronouns are She/Her. I am from Maine, on the Northeast coast of the United States, and I completed my BS in Chemistry in 2020 at the University of Maine. As an undergraduate, I worked on a wide variety of research projects such as optimizing cellulose-based bioplastics, helping study anti-biotic resistance genes in food waste, and most recently studying the cytoskeleton of a red alga. I took a class on algae during my last year, which got me so interested in seaweeds and encouraged me to apply to graduate school for Botany.

This fall I started in the MSc Botany program at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Martone. I am studying various aspects of the biochemistry and biomechanics of kelp and coralline algal adhesion to the ocean floor!

This year I am TAing BIOL 209 (Biodiversity of Algae, Fungi, and Bryophytes) in term 1 and BIOL 201 (Introduction to Biochemistry) in term 2.

What do you most enjoy about being a TA?

My favorite thing about TAing is working with the students on something you’re passionate about. Over the semester, you see each student grow so much. It’s so amazing to not only get to talk to them every day about the things I love, but to also be able to help students where they are struggling and see things click for them. The students can bring so much energy to the class and I always enjoy the time I get to work with them!

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

I am relatively new to biology, so TAing has been wonderful for me to continue to hone my skills in the basics of botany and even branch out into new topics and ideas I hadn’t had the chance to study in my undergraduate. Although being less familiar with a topic means that I need to spend more time learning the material, it has helped me work on how to learn topics quickly and teach students effectively.

How has your unique background influenced your TA experience?

While not having a traditional biology undergraduate means I have to put in a bit more work to catch up, it also means that I have a variety of other experiences to talk with students about! I’ve found that students are often taking courses like organic chemistry while in 2nd year, and so we’ve had the unique opportunity to connect some of these topics when students ask me questions. I love getting to discuss neat aspects of botany that students might not ordinarily talk about in their courses, and it’s always wonderful for students to see students excited about these connections (ESPECIALLY when it’s organic chemistry!).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend a lot of my time outdoors! I try to hike and explore nature as much as I can and spend a lot of time canoeing. I am also a recently certified scuba diver and am looking forward to seeing the underwater world of the west coast! Most often you can find me exploring some tide pools and enjoying the ocean breeze.

What are your plans following graduation?

Honestly, I am not 100% sure! I plan on pursuing my PhD and I would love to work in academia, but I’ve also had a number of interesting ideas for seaweed-centric businesses or non-profits that I will continue to explore over the next few years! No matter the path, I am eager to integrate science and education to try to make a positive impact on the environment and how we think about sustainable coastal economies.

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