The department website has finally updated my information, as I’m the recipient of Emma L. Marshall Scholarship in the year of 2017-2018. The recipient of this scholarship is determined by the committee and it is awarded to only one senior student in each year for an outstanding scholastic record and active involvement in the student activities. Every spring the department honors its scholarship recipients at a banquet which I am invited to attend. The year’s banquet will be held on Friday, April 20th, 2018.
During these years, I have held numerous office hours, review sessions, and advising sessions for students in ECE department as an IEEE-HKN member, a teaching assistant, and a grader for many courses.
In the office hour, I mainly helped students understand difficult concepts and shared my unique way of understanding certain materials. For example, my special way of memorizing necessary steps to solve a dynamic programming problem. I also provided advice about which courses to take according to each student’s interest and performance in his or her previous courses, since I have attended or learned about all the courses in the ECE and CS departments.
I also held review sessions for hundreds of students. Before the review session, I went over all the materials in the slides in the course and connected them to my knowledge in the field and any related classes that I had taken. After making my own slides with all the difficult and important concepts that had appeared in the course, I also designed some original questions. For example, in a review session for assembly language class, I designed a question about filling out the missing codes of a stack calculator.
One specific instance when I helped my student understand a difficult concept is about a problem in Math. When I was holding regular office hours, one student asked me about one question in a Linear Algebra class. The question was that she couldn’t get how change of basis works. Instead of teaching her the trick to memorize the formula, I decided to build her intuition first. Although the question is in a 3D world, I reduced the question first by introducing a similar question in a 2D world. Then I drew something she must be familiar with, a typical rectangular coordinate system aligned with edges of the paper. After I drew another coordinate system and showed how one line could be interpreted differently in different coordinate systems, and taught her the ways to understand the formula through the models we just constructed, she said she understood the concept and was able to proceed in the homework, where the question was in a 3D world. I checked her answer to make sure it was correct, then I designed another question in a higher dimension world. I found she was able to solve it perfectly, and that made me feel extremely satisfied. She told me that after listening to my explanation, she just needs to remember how to solve a problem in a 2D world intuitively, then uses an extended version of the steps to solve the problems in higher dimensions, instead of having to memorize the whole formula. More importantly, she said she could “feel” how everything happens now.