Congratulations to Abhiteja Konda for winning a Spring 2017 Citation for Excellence in Teaching Chemistry. Konda, a fourth-year graduate student in Dr. Stephen Morin’s lab, believes being awarded the citation shows progress in his teaching.
“I was really surprised and honored at the same time,” Konda said. “To get this award, it shows something is working.”
Konda has taught labs for Chemistry 109, 110, and 221, and helping the students gain a better understanding of chemistry is important to him. He enjoys teaching new concepts to his students and motivating them to think about things in different ways. It’s rewarding for him to watch the students’ understanding of chemistry grow, and he feels it’s his communication with them that makes a difference.
“It’s important for you to connect with the students,” Konda said. “Mainly, you need to understand what the students are expecting from you.”
Communicating with the students helps Konda tailor each lesson to the need of the class, and it make his lessons more efficient and helps the students make the connection between lecture and lab.
Konda’s dedication to improvement and care for his students made his teaching stand out to the Coordinator of General Chemistry, Dr. Jason Kautz.
“I commend Abhi’s dedication to his students. He does a good job instructing them while balancing his own research and coursework,” Kautz said.
In addition to his teaching endeavors, Konda also mentored undergraduate students under the summer REU program (funded by National Science Foundation) and the department’s research for credit program. He also played an active role in organizing several outreach activities in the fields of nanoscience, soft-lithography, 3D printing, and soft-robotics for students at various levels (middle school, high school, and college) in conjunction with the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience, and with the Nebraska Innovation Campus.
Konda’s research is focused on using a microfluidic approach to dial up systems for synthesis of morphologically controlled inorganic nanomaterials. He joined Nebraska’s Chemistry Graduate Program in 2013 with a joint master’s in analytical chemistry and quality management systems from the University of Barcelona in Spain and the University of Bergen in Norway. Konda moved back to India to start working for a diagnostics company after he completed his master’s and before he started here at Nebraska.
After he graduates, which he expects to be in May 2018, Konda hopes to land a job in the chemistry industry, one that will encompass all his experiences. The initial plan is to find work in the United States, and eventually he would like to return home to India.