Meet my ULA Friends

  • Oct 9, 2018

Hi guys,

As preprofessional students, we are always looking for opportunities to get leadership experience. One way some of my fellow classmates have gained this experience is through being an undergraduate learning assistant (ULA). I asked them a few questions about what it is like being an ULA and these are their responses. Hope this inspires you to seek out this type of opportunity. 

Amulya Jain

Amulya Jain

 

  1. What course are you an ULA for?
    I am a ULA for PHY 252 DATA Lab.
     
  2. How did you get this position ULA? Did your professor ask you, or was there an application?
    I filled out an application, but also was personally asked by the physics department as they said my instructors (from when I took the course) recommended me.
     
  3. If there was an application, what was the process?
    It was a google form asking information such as year, major, if you have worked for MSU before, which physics courses have you completed if you are a non-physics/astronomy major, why you want the ULA position, and ultimate career goals. You also must have a GPA above 3.2.
     
  4. What kind of time commitment is it?
    The maximum time commitment is 10 hours a week. However, I teach a single, 1 hour and 50-minute section, attend weekly meetings, grade homework and lab notebooks, and sometimes go in to practice the labs ahead of time- this totals to about 7 hours a week.
     
  5. What is the best part and the hardest part of being an ULA?
    The best part about being an ULA is that I can see the student’s progress throughout the semester and know that my feedback has helped them. The hardest part is that sometimes, I do not know all the answers to questions that I would like to help students with- but luckily, I have an amazing TA to work with.

  6. Would you recommend being an ULA to other students in the College of Natural Science or in the preprofessional track?
    I would highly recommend it because it allows you to take a step above and beyond being a student. Believe in your capabilities and strive to build a good relationship with your professor/instructor(s) to consider applying for the ULA position in a course that you do well in!

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Waseem Syed

Waseem Syed

 

  1. What course are you an ULA for?
    MMG 301: Introduction to Microbiology
     
  2. How did you get this position ULA? Did your professor ask you, or was there an application?
    From my talk with Dr. Bardill and continuously going to office hours. I ask Dr. Bardill to be an ULA and I got the job.  If you want to be a ULA, it is important to touch base with your professor, so they know who you are and what is your capabilities in the course. That will put you in a good position when you ask for the ULA position.
     
  3. What kind of time commitment is it?
    It all depends on the style of the class. For Introduction to Microbiology, it is a hybrid course where students get the lecture online and then come in the classroom to do worksheets. If your students need extra help, we have office hours where students can come in and ask questions. You also must attend a meeting every week to discussed what to do in the classroom and how to improve our teaching styles.
     
  4. What is the best part and the hardest part of being an ULA?
    The worst part of being an ULA is entering grades on D2L. D2L is not user-friendly and it can take a considerable amount of time especially since we have around 500 students enrolled.  One of the reasons I love being an ULA is the impact you make on student's education. Students would come to you asking questions and throughout the semester, your students get smarter because of the work that you do as a ULA.
     
  5. Would you recommend being an ULA to other students in the College of Natural Science or in the preprofessional track?
    I highly recommend being an ULA, it allows you to expand your ability to be able to communicate knowledge to others. The art of teaching is a tricky field because each student has their own needs and you must work around what is best for that student. If you are interested in pursuing a pre-professional school, this is a great opportunity to practice educating people that are not in your field. I have to say it has been a learning experience for me to be able to teach and to work alongside with the microbiology teaching staff, I am truly honored to be ULA for this course. 

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Stacy Vo 

Stacy Vo

  1. What course are you an ULA for?
    BS 171: Cellular and Molecular Biology Lab
     
  2. How did you get this position ULA? Did your professor ask you, or was there an application?
    I got the position through an application, I received an email about the application and it was on LON-CAPA.
     
  3. What kind of time commitment is it?
    I am an ULA for two labs that are 2 hours and 50 minutes long and then we have a prep meeting every Friday for 3 hours so give or take 10 hours a week.
     
  4. What is the best part and the hardest part of being an ULA?
    The best part about being an ULA is being able to relate to students and guide them through the labs. When I took this lab, I was taught by the course instructor himself and really enjoyed the exposure I got to the biological realm. I understand that labs can be overwhelming so that’s what we are here for, to help you with anything you may need! They just updated this course, so the hardest part would probably be when students are asking questions (it’s a refresher for myself) about the new aspects of the course that I didn’t go through, so we both work towards the answer together. It's rewarding to be able to collaborate with the students towards figuring out a goal, for example why a broth culture they made isn’t “cloudy” anymore, it’s because of the bacteriophage that was inserted in killed and infected the E.Coli Strain A. Therefore, making the broth culture clear.
     
  5. Would you recommend being an ULA to other students in the College of Natural Science or in the preprofessional track?
    Being an ULA gives you the opportunity to become a role model for students, you will meet a ton of students who are also on the preprofessional track. It helps you understand the teaching side of the classroom/laboratory; it builds you as a leader and a learner and you can also influence the students to want to be an ULA too. Being able to connect with the instructors and other ULA’s puts you in the mindset of how you can help the students all work towards to accomplishing goals and succeeding in the class. The instructors vary from graduate students to people who have received their Ph.Ds. These positions will help you in the long run in your professional career when it comes to working with others to provide help and knowledge. 

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By Bhumi