Brett Begley is one of the recipients of the Fall 2015 Citation for Excellence in Teaching Chemistry. From Omaha, Nebraska, Brett is currently an Undergraduate Recitation Teaching Assistant for General Chemistry I (CHEM 109). In previous semesters, he has worked as a recitation TA in General Chemistry II (CHEM 110) and Fundamentals of Chemistry I (CHEM 113). Brett is working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry with minors in Biochemistry and Mathematics. Brett also works as a Research Assistant in the lab of Professor David Berkowitz, Chair of the Department of Chemistry.
Brett’s motivation for being an excellent teacher is derived from his parents. “Teaching has always been an interest of mine simply because that’s what my parents do. The opportunity to teach UNL students and help them through Chemistry is extremely rewarding.”
While Brett is honored by the recognition, he recognizes the abundance of talent in the Department of Chemistry as a whole. “There are so many talented Teaching Assistants in the Chemistry program--both graduates and undergraduates--I’m happy to be a member of such a strong team,” Brett said.
In addition to balancing a busy schedule of classes and teaching, Brett works with Professor Jason Kautz on multiple extracurricular projects. Brett and Prof. Kautz have recently co-authored a new Chemistry 110 Workbook which will be used at UNL starting in January 2016. “UNL and the Department of Chemistry have given me more opportunities than I could possibly imagine,” Brett said. He feels privileged to play so many active roles in Chemistry.
According to Professor Kautz, “Brett is an assiduous student; he asks questions that are thoughtful, intelligent, and deep. Frankly, he motivates me.”
According to Brett, “In order to be a successful student, you have to be self-motivating. One of the most important lessons you discover in college is that learning is a private affair—no one can do it for you."
Brett maintains a 4.0 GPA and anticipates a Spring 2017 graduation, whereupon he plans to attend medical school. His aim is that one day he will be able to incorporate patient care with teaching and research.