Aspiring to Lead & Teach

In conjunction with the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) the National Science Foundation funded INCLUDES Aspire Alliance the California Regional Collaborative offer two fellowship pathways for future community college leaders and faculty. Aspire fellowships offer graduate students and postdoctoral scholars interested in teaching or administrative positions the opportunity to learn more about faculty life and governance within the Los Angeles community college district.

Aspire fellows receive stipends and have access to many additional resources. The support our fellows receive will help advance our goal of closing the opportunity gap and fostering the next generation of community college leaders and stem faculty.

If you are interested in becoming an Aspire Fellow please complete our interest form here

>> Aspire Fellow Interest Form <<

Aspire2Teach Fellows

The Aspire2Teach program trains and prepares graduate students and postdoctoral fellows interested in teaching at a community college for part-time and full-time faculty positions. The program offers a series of institutes on inclusive teaching, professional learning opportunities, and classroom training under the guidance of a mentor in their specific discipline.

Kankana Ghoshal, PhD

Contact: konkana2003@gmail.com

PhD: Department of Plant Science, University of British Columbia, Canada

Postdoc Training: Molecular & Computational Biology, USC 

What motivates you to pursue a career in teaching at the community college level?
I feel inspired by successfully sharing my knowledge with students to help them develop excitement and passion for science. Watching a student’s progress to learn new things and become an independent thinker highly motivates me. Furthermore, my motivation is strengthened by getting enrolled in several CIRTL [Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning] courses, reading articles on educational research, and through my involvement in teaching and learning community at UCLA.
When did you first become interested in teaching?
I have always been interested in teaching. I enjoyed tutoring from my high school days. However, the self-realization for my passion towards teaching came during mentoring of undergraduate students in my post-doctoral lab.
What courses would you like to teach?
I would like to teach the following courses: Biology, Plant Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, and basic Bioinformatics.
Tell us about your research and how you will apply this knowledge in the Community College classroom. 
My experience has helped me to gain expertise in fundamental concepts of biology, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. I want to guide my students in an active learning environment to master these concepts and skills which are essential for a student’s successful career in and beyond science. During my Ph.D. and postdoctoral training, I had the opportunity to work with people from different countries which made me realize how diversity can facilitate learning and thoughts. Therefore, I would like to leverage the diversity within a community college for enhancing the learning experience of a student by creating an inclusive, enthusiastic, comfortable and respectful classroom learning environment.
What are some of your hobbies?
Yoga and Indian Classical Dance.

Kersti Haatveit

Contact: khaatveit@chem.ucla.edu
Transfer, Diablo Valley College
B.S.: Chemistry, UC Berkeley
M.S.: Chemistry, UCLA
Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry, UCLA

Your disciplinary expertise:

Organic Chemistry, Computational Chemistry, Biocatalysis, Chemical Education

Please respond to the following questions, please limit responses to 2-5 sentences:

When did you first become interested in teaching?

My interest began in community college where I enjoyed working in study groups and helping my group members learn the material. This realization made me pursue an undergraduate teaching position at UC Berkeley called the Teacher-Scholar Program. In my first quarter of graduate school, I started my first TA assignment where I really confirmed my interest and felt this is something I really enjoy and made me pursue as many teaching opportunities I could get.

What motivates you to pursue a career in teaching at the community college level?

I attended community college and I attribute this experience to my academic success because of my professors and mentors there. I want to serve as a role model and break negative stereotypes about community colleges to show what can be achieved with community college as a starting point. The smaller classroom size and accessibility of community college makes it a great place to do this. In addition, I want to serve as a mentor to my students by guiding them to find their career goals and interests, motivating students to believe they can excel in STEM fields, and making them aware of opportunities to succeed beyond the classroom.

What pedagogical tools are you currently using or excited to learn more about?

I am currently using many evidence-based teaching practices, particularly active learning strategies, such as facilitating group work, effective questioning, think-pair-shares, and wait time. I am excited to learn more about using these techniques and others we have learned in the Project Match Summer Institute in the context of the chemistry discipline!

Where is your teaching practicum and who is your community college faculty mentor?

My teaching practicum is at East Los Angeles College (ELAC) with Dr. Armando Rivera-Figueroa.

What do you hope to gain from your participation in the Aspire2Teach Fellowship and ProjectMATCH programs?

I hope to learn more about the community of students to learn how I can best serve them. I hope to learn more about how to use effective teaching strategies in chemistry in the community college classroom. I hope to learn about what community college teaching jobs looks like and gain a network of mentors for the future!

Eunice Bin Lee

Contact: eunibin@ucla.edu

B.S.: Bioengineering

M.S.: Bioengineering, UCLA

Your disciplinary expertise: Medical Imaging, Physiology

When did you first become interested in teaching?

I have been a tutor since high school and even have experience teaching abroad (South Korea). But I realized that I wanted to teach as a profession while being a teaching assistant for genetics at UCLA.

What motivates you to pursue a career in teaching at the community college level?

I knew I wanted to teach college level. That is the stage where the students as independent adults start to take ownership of their education, and it is so exciting to play a role in that. I love the community college environment; it’s diverse, exciting, challenging. Having taken numerous community college courses in my life, I have utmost respect for the excellence in teaching that takes place at community colleges; there are many professors who have changed my life. It would be an honor for me to be one of the number.

What pedagogical tools are you currently using or excited to learn more about?

I am so intrigued by the practice of developing norms and routines in classrooms and allowing students to dictate the terms by which we build the best environment for their learning. I want to continue to learn more about having students feel more at home in the classroom and take responsibility for their own learning.

Where is your teaching practicum and who is your community college faculty mentor?

I am interning at Pierce College in Dr. Teak V Lee’s Physiology 1 lecture and lab classes (no relation ^^).

What do you hope to gain from your participation in the Aspire2Teach Fellowship and ProjectMATCH programs?

A first-hand experience of different aspects of the culture at community college I am not already familiar with, opportunities to observe talented teachers, participating in communities for studying best teaching practices, finding and collect resources to continue to improve my skillset.

Ian Perrone

Contact:  perrone.ian@gmail.com
MS, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, UCLA

Disciplinary Expertise: Virology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Immunology, Genetics

What motivates you to pursue a career at the community college level?

I am excited to share my passion for science and learning with future generations of scientists, researchers, doctors, and policy makers.

What pedagogical tools are you currently using or excited to learn more about?

I am eager to apply tools such as concept jigsaws and reading apprenticeship theory that I have gained from attending 3CSN and Project MATCH workshops.

Where is your teaching practicum and who is your community college faculty mentor?

My Project MATCH experience is at West Los Angeles College under Professor Ka-Hung Lee.

What do you hope to gain from your participation in the Aspire2Teach Fellowship and Project MATCH programs?

I hope to learn more about how I can, as an educator, increase diversity within the sciences. I also hope to gain valuable hands-on experience teaching in the community college classroom.

Aspire2Lead Fellows

Aspire2Lead fellows are given opportunities to learn more about leadership within the Los Angeles Community College District.  Fellows engage in intentional networking and professional learning opportunities, assessment projects, and policy research. Additionally, fellows will assist in sharing statewide resources and creating professional learning opportunities for the Aspire2Teach interns.

Kaitlin (Kaitie) Ingraham Dixie

Undergraduate: B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Boston University
Graduate school: Ph.D. Candidate in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology, University of California Los Angeles
Your disciplinary expertise:
Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology, Cellular and Developmental Neurobiology, Physiology, Biochemistry
When did you first become interested in teaching?
Even in high school I knew I wanted teaching to be part of my career, but I truly fell in love with it during my first quarter teaching intro bio as a teaching assistant.
What motivates you to pursue a career in teaching at the community college level?
The chance to share the wonder of science with a diverse and motivated body of students and the culture of placing emphasis and value on teaching and learning.
What courses would you like to teach?
Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Intro Biology, Physiology, Neurobiology
Tell us about your research and how you will apply this knowledge in the Community College classroom.
I had the pleasure of mentoring several students and gained valuable insight on how to be creative and patient in the ways I explain complex topics to inexperienced novices. I was also introduced to science education research at UCLA and did a small “teaching as research” project on methods to train graduate student teaching assistants. Through this and other professional development opportunities I gained new perspectives and tools on how to improve my teaching through deliberate assessment and am excited to apply them in my future career!