Dihua Xue, many know her as Victoria, was awarded a Fall 2017 Citation for Excellence in Teaching Chemistry for her work as an outstanding teaching assistant.
“Victoria has been an outstanding mentor and role model not only for the students she’s taught, but for fellow TA’s as well,” Prof. Jason Kautz said.
Xue left Shanghai, China to join the department as a graduate student in 2014, and she is currently in Prof. Marilyne Stains’ group studying chemical education. Since being in the program, Xue found enjoyment in teaching.
“One of the most rewarding parts of teaching is having students engaged in their learning,” Xue said. “When they get actively involved in their learning, they take things out of lab to go share with their parent and grandparents.”
As a teaching assistant, Xue has taught labs for Chemistry 105, 106, and 113, and she has taught a couple Organic Chemistry labs as well. Each class presented its own challenges, but Xue has always been able to see the rewards of teaching.
Even though Xue hopes to move forward with a career in education after she graduates, she believes that the communication skills one learns as a teaching assistant can be carried into any profession. She said that being a teaching assistant has improved her communication skills with not only students, but with people in general.
“Sometimes you just need to find out a way to better communicate with you students, because they might not get what you mean at first. You need to be patient and find a different way to explain the problem and walk them through it,” Xue said.
Citations for Excellence in Teaching Chemistry are intended to recognize students who display great leadership and show a dedication and passion for teaching. For Xue, she is just happy to be helping the department.
“I really appreciate Dr. Kautz’s and Jessica Periago’s help with teaching and the instruction. I’m just happy to realize that I’m making contributions to the department,” Xue said.