Miles Mayer has enthusiasm and fervor for teaching. His passion and dedication to our undergraduate teaching mission earned him one of four Spring 2016 Citation for Excellence in Teaching Awards.
“It wasn’t expected at all,” Miles said. “I don’t worry so much about people giving me credit; I just want my students to do well.”
Miles is “motivated by his genuine interest in his students and powered by his creativity and professionalism. He engages students in such a way that adds value to our undergraduate program,” Jason Kautz, Professor of Practice, said.
Born in Beatrice, Nebraska, Miles grew up in a small town of approximately 230 people in Clatonia, Nebraska. He graduated from Doane College in Crete, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Visual Arts.
He came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in 2014, to pursue his master’s in Analytical Chemistry under the guidance of the Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor Dr. Rebecca Lai.
Since then, Miles has been a lab TA for General Chemistry I (Chem. 109), General Chemistry II (Chem. 110), and Organic Chemistry.
“I think I enjoy teaching more than anything,” Miles said. “I like to talk about science.”
Miles describes his teaching style as laid back.
“I’m pretty informal about my teaching. I take a lot of how I teach from my undergrad professor who taught me Evolution and Ecology,” Miles said.
“I don’t worry so much about the students diving in on their own. I like to leave them able to answer their questions … and I like to ask questions that will get the students to think about what they are doing.”
Miles prepares his lectures far in advance using personal examples and constantly having one-on-one meetings with his students. He wants them to understand the concepts and see that chemistry is not as scary as it appears.
“The biggest thing you get out of your first two semesters in chemistry is realizing that you can do it,” Miles said.
“My lectures take a little longer than some of the other lab TAs because I like to make sure that I provide enough information in the right way that everyone understands what is going on.”
While getting the right number is important, Miles focuses primarily on how to work out the problems rather than simply providing answers. He thinks understanding the concepts are far more important to the student at this stage of learning chemistry.
“I try to give some leeway when I know that they are thinking about it in the right way, even if they get the wrong answer,” Miles said. “It’s more important that they are thinking how things are working correctly than it is whether or not they got the exact number that they are supposed to have for some equation.”
In his spare time, Miles plays guitar for a local band and takes flying lessons.
Miles anticipates graduation in August 2016. His thesis is titled: “Design and Fabrication of Electrochemical Aptamer-based Sensor.” His life goal is to become a Professor.
Dr. David H. Smith Memorial Research Award May 2013
A.A. Summer Research Grant May-Aug, 2012