Looking back, my teaching career began long before I even realized it. Early experiences working as a ski instructor, soccer coach, and horseback riding camp counselor instilled in me a love for sharing experiences, hobbies, and information I am passionate about with others. This hasn’t changed during the course of my PhD training. The only difference is that now it happens in a more structured classroom environment, not on the ski slopes!
Funding for the final three years of my PhD at Virginia Tech came from a competitive fellowship through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, called the Graduate Teaching Scholars (GTS) program. The GTS program provides selected doctoral students with extensive training related to contemporary issues in higher education, educational theories and practice, instructional design and strategies, assessment and grading, inclusive pedagogy, problem-based learning, and mentoring of teaching assistants. In the past five years, my experiences as an educator have grown from working as a teaching assistant to designing curricula and independently teaching courses as the instructor of record.