The ability to share and convey scientific concepts through teaching has always been rewarding and has made my tenure as a faculty member at California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) fulfilling. My main goals as a professor have been four fold: 1) To serve my students, always striving to be the best teacher that I can be, remaining current and enthusiastic, 2) To provide mentorship and advising beyond the limits of what is required, so as to enable students to develop their own educational path, 3) To be a role model for underrepresented minority students—promoting and encouraging respect for diversity on campus specifically, and within the broad scope of the scientific and university communities as a whole, and 4) To develop a supportive atmosphere with colleagues, a prerequisite to providing the best in service to students.

Over the last thirty years I have been asked on a number of occasions what I like most about my job. On each occasion I have answered without hesitation, “the students.” I love looking up into the faces of those sitting throughout a lecture room to find a sea of diversity. I love fielding student questions that are borne out of a unique perspective or experience that I have never had. Simply, I love to lecture. Put me in a room with a box of chalk, blackboard, and I am ready to go.

As a scientist, I feel obligated to teach my students to develop hypotheses-driven frames of thought. I try and provoke students to ask good questions, to dive deeper into a topic, and be confident enough to articulate their thoughts and ideas. If they want to succeed in science courses or in the greater field, students will have to develop a good working knowledge of the broader connections within biology and how these connections fit into the bigger picture of scientific progress and toward the promotion of social welfare for all.

Interview on education

Maria talks about being an educator.