Emily Grace Ripka Banner

Personal Statement

    From the very beginnings of my STEM career I have had a passion for helping others understand the material that excited me. I knew that I was meant to give back to the scientific community through distilling my understanding of complex scientific and mathematical knowledge in a manor that is clear, consice, and engaging. What started as assisting my peers in and out of class transitioned into a mentoring role as a tutor and TA as an undergraduate student.
    I think it is extremenly important to make the knowledge in the STEM realm approachable and accessible. Thus, I have an extremely "open-door" rule for myself, where I will help anyone, student, peer, or otherwise, whom comes to me seeking greater understanding of a given topic which I have expertice. Further, I started this blog as a means to make topics like programming and chemistry more accessible for those in and outside of STEM. Tangentally, I also value making science topics and learning enjoyable and engaging. I believe that this is the key to growing trust and excitement in/for the scientific community, thus I started creating content on this blog to fill in gaps I percieve in STEM coursework .
    Here I share some of my thoughts and experiences in teaching so that you can get an idea of how I strive to deliver information and present myself in and outside of the classroom.

Curriculum Vitae

Downloads: MS Word | PDF

Teaching Philosophy Statement

Downloads: PDF

Teaching Materials

  • NMR Spectroscopy Lesson Plan. My research expertice is in spectroscopy, in particular, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. I believe that there is much room for improvement in the way we introduce spectroscopy in general, and NMR in particular, to chemistry students. Understanding of these techniques is vital not only for a career in chemistry research or teaching, but more importantly for the general understanding of what scientists are measuring. Thus, I created a lesson plan for how I would introduce these topics to undergraduate students.
    I was given the chance to practive this lesson plan on my peers in the SCI 544 course that I took this past fall. I have included in the downloads section below a reflection I wrote on the feedback I recieved from my peers, and from self-reflection.

    Downloads: Lesson Plan (PDF) | Lesson Plan (MS Word) | Powerpoint | Reflection


Teaching Experience Overview: I am a third-year PhD Student and have had 3 (and 1 current) semesters in which I have been a teaching assistant. My first year, I taught general chemistry lab for two semesters. In my second year, I recieved a fellowship (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN)) and took two semesters off from teaching to focus on my research. However, in the spring semester of my second year, I started mentoring an undergraduate student in the Maye research lab, and I consider this a significant teaching experience as well. When I returned to the classroom in my third year, I taught an honors general chemistry lab for one semester, and I am currently teaching recitation for general chemistry.

  • General Chemistry Laboratory (CHE 107) Fall 2016

    Summary & Reflection. This was my first TA experience as a graduate student. My responsibilities included introducing the basic theory and safety information to the students about the lab, and guiding them through the process. As a whole, this expereinces helped me to see what students needed to be told in lab, and the things they were more likely to figure out themselves.
    Overall, the evaluations of the students of me were quite good. I scored above average on every ranked question, with notablly high scores (4.65/5) on my ability to explaing the chemistry underlying the experiments and my helpfulnesss.
    Some highlights from the comments were:

    • "Emily helped with any questions that I had. She cared and wanted to make sure that if we had questions on the material that we understood it before leaving the class."
    • "My TA was excellent; she made things understandable and helped us while still encouraging us to look back into th lab manual. She was also very willing and able to help when I had questions, whether during lab time or during her office hours."

    Downloads: Full student evaluations

  • Honors Chemistry Laboratory (CHE 129) Fall 2018

    Summary & Reflection. In this experience, I taught one laboratory section solo, and co-taught a second in which my responsibilities included introducing the lab theoretical background and safety instructions to the students, and guiding them through completion of the lab. Along with another TA, I spear-headed the integration and creation of seven pre-lab assignments and one post-lab problem set assignment on blackboard. Further, I created a python script to aid in the input and storage of itemized grading of lab reports. Further, I designed an entire lab lesson which introduced all three CHE 129 lab sections to NMR spectroscopy. This included a theoretical background, and a visit to SU chemistry department's NMR facility.
    This teaching experience was very rewarding, and I really enjoyed being able to bring my research expertice into the classroom. Further, I loved that this group of students were highly motivated and felt comfortable coming to my office to ask for help on the harder questions, as well as for further explanations on the underlying science and concepts.
    Again, the overall evaluations of me by the students were very high. The ranked questions were all above average (>4 on a scale of 5). I again scored exceptionally high (4.76/5) on my willingness to explain the chemistry underlying the experiements, and a 4.62/5 on my knowledge of the laboratory procedures.
    Some highlights from the comments were:

    • "I appreciated your willingness to help us understand the labs and their procedures rather than just making us do them for the sake of doing so. Thanks."
    • "The TA was really great. She wasn't intimidating at all, and was very helpful. She was very passionate about Chemistry and would occasionally do parts of the experiments herself as we worked."

    Downloads: Full student evaluations | Syllabus

  • Undergraduate Student Research Mentoring

    Summary & Reflection. In January 2018, I started mentoring an undergraduate student in the Maye research lab whom I will continue to teach research skills until they graduate This one-on-one mentoring experience has been beneficial to both my teaching experience and the development of the student's research skills and capacity such that they can go on to a graduate career in chemistry after their graduation. This undergraduate student is an exceptional researcher whom has grown so much since her start in the lab. Further, she has helped me develop my rational and philosophy on teaching students how to work in a lab and conduct (and report on) research properly.

    Downloads: Mentee Recommendation Letter

All thoughts and opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my institution.