Our newest lecturer, Evelyn Sun, first joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology as an undergraduate student in the Biotech program. From there, she stayed in the department for her entire educational life! From undergraduate student to a graduate student in the Hancock lab to a post-doctoral research fellow in the department, she is now what the Hancock lab calls an SOB: Survivor of Bob.
The Hancock lab’s research touches on multiple themes to address the growing antibiotic resistance problem: 1) the development of novel broad-spectrum therapeutic strategies for infections and inflammation, 2) utilizing functional genomic and bioinformatics studies to define the innate immunity/inflammatory network, and 3) understanding adaptive lifestyles, especially adaptive multi-drug antibiotic resistance and virulence.
As a doctoral student, Sun investigated a novel form of bacterial motility called surfing.
“My research now has changed quite drastically since then,” she shares. “I went from investigating how bacteria behave under certain disease conditions to how students behave under certain learning conditions.”
Her post-doctoral research focused on student learning as they go through a course-based undergraduate research experience, and now uses this knowledge to support her teaching as she takes part in many initiatives the department offers to enrich student’s educational experience.
Enhancing the student experience
“It’s been a pleasure to be a part of so many amazing initiatives that we offer in our department,” says Sun, who taught both SCIE 113 (a science communication seminar course) and MICB 421 (a course-based undergraduate research experience); both structured in a way where teachers have open discussions with students about science and research. “I think it’s great to be able to mentor and work with students both in and out of the classroom setting.”
Besides her work in fourth-year research courses, Sun has also been an advisor for UJEMI (the department’s in-house undergraduate research journal) and the Undergraduate Research Symposium for the past two years.
Interacting with students and watching them grow is something she really enjoys, and one of many things that drew her to teaching. As a lover of research, she also shares that she enjoys teaching science in general.
“I really enjoy the flexibility and freedom to be creative that teaching allows for,” says Sun. “Like trying to come up with interesting ways to engage students with the content, which could be a troubleshooting speed-dating exercise or a lab techniques game show.”
Sun shares that this new lecturer position will open up more opportunities to do all the things she loves about teaching: working with more students, experimenting with curriculum development, and improving the student learning experience!