Teaching Philosophy

I am committed to providing excellent teaching and mentorship through teaching undergraduate courses, mentoring undergraduate and graduate researchers, and developing innovative science communication materials as a fellow of the MIT Communication Lab and as founder of the ongoing outreach initiative ColorMePhD.

Through my teaching, I aim to provide students with the opportunity to relate to and develop a positive relationship with the content to retain more information, skillfully apply fundamental concepts to real-world applications, and gain confidence in their abilities. I am committed to supporting students in developing these skills by fostering an inclusive classroom that equips students with the tools to:

1) Engage in content through active learning inside and outside of the classroom

2) Learn and apply fundamental chemical engineering concepts through collaborative projects

3) Develop problem-solving skills in an inclusive environment

University-Level Instruction Experience

University of California, Berkeley; Berkeley, CA

Graduate Student Instructor for CBE 141: Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics; Jan. 2017 – May 2017

During the Spring semester of 2017, I served as a graduate student instructor (GSI) for undergraduate chemical engineering thermodynamics with Professor Markita Landry. Duties included creating and grading exams and quizzes, holding office hours and review sessions, developing lesson plans, and teaching two discussion sections per week for undergraduate thermodynamics.

"Julie was an absolutely amazing GSI! She was consistently prepared, offered help outside of her usually scheduled office hours, and genuinely cared about her students. Julie was instrumental to my success in this course." - Anonymous feedback from Course Evaluations

Graduate Student Instructor for CBE 154: Chemical Engineering Laboratory; Aug. 2015 – December 2015

During the Fall semester in 2015 I served as a graduate student instructor (GSI) for chemical engineering senior lab with Dr. Colin Cerretani and Professor David Graves. I instructed and supervised laboratory experiments for senior-level undergraduates, maintained and improved experimental units and operating procedures, delivered and enforced safety training, and provided technical and analytical support for students. Experiments included distillation, membrane separation, adsorption and reaction, packed and fluidized beds, and centrifugal pumps. In recognition for my excellence in teaching this course, I was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI) award, presented to the top 9% of GSIs across the university based on teaching evaluations.

"Julie was a great GSI and extremely helpful in the DIST lab. She was very knowledgeable about the apparatus and could quickly identify our sources of error when we were having problems. She also kindly shared her experiences in applying to grad school with us students who are interested in the same path." - Anonymous feedback from Course Evaluations

Graduate Student Instructor for CBE 40: Introduction to Chemical Engineering; Aug. 2014 – December 2014

During the Fall semester in 2014 I served as a graduate student instructor (GSI) for introduction to chemical engineering , an introductory chemical engineering course for first year undergraduates, with Dr. Marjorie Went. I developed homework problems, exams, and lesson plans and taught two discussion sections (~30 students) each week.

"Julie is also solid at teaching; she is very enthusiastic about the course and is careful with the way she presents the material. I have no complaints with her as she provided a positive teaching experience." - Anonymous feedback from Course Evaluations

Arizona State University; Tempe AZ

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant at Arizona State University: FSE 100; Aug. 2013- Dec. 2013

As an undergraduate, I served as a teaching assistant for Fulton Schools of Engineering (FSE) 100, an introductory engineering laboratory class with Dr. Benjamin Mertz. In this role, I guided students through independent projects, implemented safety guidelines, and offered student support for design and construction of alternative energy producing devices.

In March of 2020, I was selected as a fellow of the MIT Chemical Engineering Communication Lab, a selective group of trained postdocs and graduate students that help students, postdocs, and members of the department improve their science communication strategies through targeted workshops and individualized 1-on-1 coaching. As a fellow, I have received training on effective visual, oral, and written science communication, inclusive teaching strategies, and best practices for providing constructive feedback. Through this program, I worked with a team to develop and deliver a workshop series on faculty application preparation, develop workshops on scientific visual design strategies, and organize the annual postdoc grant competition. I have coached students and postdocs on scientific presentations, fellowship applications, and proposals, and advised faculty in visual design strategies for proposal figures.

I have led Communication Lab workshops both in-person and over zoom, developing new methods to promote engagement using both platforms.

Workshops Prepared and Led as MIT ChemE Comm. Lab Fellow:

[1] “Scientific Visual Peer Review,” Thursday, Sept. 9th, 2021.

[2] “Communicating Research Through Creative Visual Summaries,” Mar. 31st, 2021.

[3] "Faculty Application Series: General Application Strategy, Vision Mission and Branding, and the Research Statement," Aug. 25th, 2020.

[4] "Faculty Application Series: Teaching and Diversity Statement," Sept. 16th, 2020.

[5] "General Application Strategy," MIT Rising Stars in Chemical Engineering, Oct. 8th, 2020.

[6] "Navigating AIChE's Meet the Faculty Candidate Poster Session," MIT Rising Stars, Oct. 9th, 2020.

Here are a few of the initiatives I have supported and developed through the MIT Chemical Engineering Communication Lab:

Post It Note PhD/Postdoc Competition

In April 2021, I led the initiation of the the ChemE Communication Lab’s first Post-it research competition. Inspired by the viral trend, we asked postdocs and students to create a creative visual summary of their research that is accessible to a general audience, all squeezed onto a 3-inch square.

Visual Design Workshop Series

In the Fall of 2021, I led the development of a workshop series centered on visual science communication. Our first workshop included best practices for visual design of figures, graphical abstracts, and included interactive activities. Our second workshop involved a guided peer-review and constructive critique session to evaluate and improve each other's figures in progress for effective visual communication.

Faculty Application Workshop Series

Over Fall of 2020 and 2021, I helped develop and deliver a series of workshops centered on preparing chemical engineers for applying to faculty positions. I delivered workshops on the Research Statement, Teaching and Diversity Statements, and led the development of a workshop centered on nativating and preparing for the AIChE meet the faculty poster session.

MIT Rising Stars in Chemical Engineering

The ChemE Rising Stars Program at MIT invites top early career women interested in faculty careers to a two day workshop that covers research presentations, panel discussions with MIT faculty, communications workshops, and a networking events with faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers currently at MIT. My role as a communication fellow in 2020 was to deliver 3 workshops centered on the faculty application process, including how to prepare for the the research statement, diversity statement, and the AIChE meet the faculty candidate poster session.

Postdoc Grant Program

During the Fall of 2021, I helped organize the chemical engineering postdoc grant program, which provides postdocs in the department with the opportunity to submit a written proposal and present an oral presentation with the chance to win one of $10,000 research grants. My roles included developing the call for proposals, coaching participants on their written proposals, developing evaluation criteria, and providing feedback on the written and oral presentations. This program provides postdocs at MIT with experience in the grant-writing process while offering real funds to pursue exciting side projects.

Invited Talks and Workshops

Invited Workshops and Events:

[1] Invited Expert: CommSciCon, Creative Storytelling Panel, Aug. 5th, 2021.

[2] Invited Guest: “Color with Me,” Book Bears / SoCal Youth Neuroscience Association, Aug. 1st, 2021.

[3] Keynote Speaker: “Intersection Between Art and Science Communication,” Yale Biological and Biomedical Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Collective, June 16th, 2021.

[4] Invited Guest: NetPals Science Club, Cambridge School Volunteers, May 4th, 2021.

[5] Invited Talk: “ColorMePhD: Science Communication Through Creative Illustration,” MIT Sci Art Symposium, April 24th, 2021.

[6] Invited Guest: “Exploring STEM careers,” Girl Scout Troop in Corvallis OR, March 18th, 2021.

[7] Invited Speaker: Haileybury College, UK, Creative Action and Service Lectures, Feb. 2nd, 2021.

[8] Invited Workshop Host: “Communicating Your Research to a Broad Audience: Methods Inspired by STEM Outreach,” Science Leadership and Management (SLAM), UC Berkeley, Feb. 24, 2020.

[9] Invited Guest: “Scientist Extravaganza,” Acorn Woodland Elementary, May 11, 2018, Oakland, CA

[10] Invited Featured Scientist: “Dinner with a Scientist,” Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, CA; April 24th, 2017; April 25th, 2017, May 7th; 2018, May 21st; 2019.

[11] Invited Guest Judge: “SEED Science Fair,” Berkeley Students for Environmental Energy Development, Berkeley, CA, May 2nd, 2015.

The Book Bears and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (SCYNA) at UC Irvine teamed up to put on this fun interactive event.

The Yale The Yale Biomedical and Biological Sciences (BBS) Diversity and Inclusion Collective (YBDIC) put on a 2021 Science Communication Week featuring keynote speakers that use creative science communication to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.

ComSciCon is an annual conference which provides graduate students with a unique professional development experience interested in and committed to communicating research. For the 2021 conference, I served on the creative story telling panel and as an expert reviewer to provide constructive feedback on students' original works of science communication for publication.

Teaching Awards

Mara H. Wasburn Early Engineering Educator Award (2019)

  • Award and travel grant ($2,000) for “demonstrated commitment to innovation in teaching...potential for substantial contributions to the field; and a demonstrated interest in advancing women in engineering.” [link]

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI) Award, UC Berkeley (2016)

  • Honor given to the top 9% of GSIs at UC Berkeley according to student nominations and evaluations presented for excellence in teaching chemical engineering senior lab.


I view providing quality inclusive mentorship as a critical component of teaching and research. I have been involved in a variety of mentorship programs at the middle school, high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels.

During undergrad, I served as a mentor for two summers for Summer Experience in Science and Engineering for Youth (SESEY) program at Oregon State University. Through this program, I mentored women and underrepresented high school students through a week-long project involving the emulsification of hydrophobic drugs. This experience provides students with the opportunity to perform hands-on research in a university laboratory and present their research at a poster session.

During my PhD, I guided three undergraduate students and one visiting master’s student through independent research projects. I worked directly with the students to develop project ideas that aligned with their interests, and connected them with professional development resources and opportunities to present their research. I have guided my trainees through preparing master’s thesis reports, presenting at the UC Berkeley undergraduate poster symposium, and co-authoring peer-reviewed publications.

As a postdoctoral fellow, I have formally trained and mentored two graduate students and one postdoc, and informally trained many others. The enjoyable process of helping students develop hypothesis-driven research questions has solidified my desire to mentor PhD students as a professor.