Texas Tech University

2023 Teaching Academy New Members

What inspires you to teach?


Photo of Aaron Arreola

Aaron Arreola

“When posed with the question, “What inspires you to teach?” It's quite simple. I want to enjoy the show that unfolds before me as my students gain the insight to grasp concepts and eagerly apply what they have learned. Then there's the bonus, when a student asks what other courses I teach, because they want to learn more from me. That is the source of my inspiration and what brings me joy!"

Photo of Janna Brendle

Janna Brendle

“My inspiration for teaching in the field of special education stems from the belief that my ultimate task is to prepare graduate students to identify needs and provide services for persons with disabilities to improve their quality of life.”

Photo of Sarai Brinker

Sarai Brinker

"What inspires me to teach is the opportunity to be a part of a community searching for knowledge, truth, wisdom, and beauty. I was fortunate to have professors who nurtured curiosity, challenged us to think more deeply, and who showed me the world is more complicated than I'd realized, but also full of meaning and possibility.  I'm hopeful I can continue that legacy with my own students. Teaching, for me, is a profoundly humbling, shared process of discovery that truly has the potential to change the world."

Photo of Allison Childress

Allison Childress

“Empowering students is what inspires me to teach. I believe that knowledge is power, but maybe not in the sense most people believe it. Knowledge gives us the ability to survive and thrive in the world. Knowledge cannot be taken away from us. It gives us freedom, and through that freedom we become powerful. Empowered people learn and grow faster both personally and professionally which enables them to live to their fullest potential.”

Photo of Chijuan Hu

Chijuan Hu

"I interact with students in the laboratory environment that facilitates experiential learning. It is rewarding to teach classes which closely simulate industrial process and practice. By assisting students grow practical skills, they can hit the ground running after graduation. What encourages me to teach is not only empowering students with knowledge but also fostering appreciation of work ethics, safety, integrity, and love for life-long learning. I enjoy connecting with students and am passionate about supporting them to reach potential and personal goals.”

Photo of Grant Jackson

Grant Jackson

“Going to college was a formative experience for me. I was gaining new knowledge, developing new skills, refining my perspectives, and stretching and growing in many ways. I was also working hard to discern the kinds of contributions I wanted to make to society throughout the next decades of my life. My professors provided invaluable instruction and mentoring in these areas, and I am now inspired by the opportunities I have to influence students similarly.”

Photo of Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

"I believe that every student has the potential to learn, grow, and succeed and I am inspired when students overcome early challenges to meet their goals. As an educator, it is my responsibility to create an inclusive and supportive classroom environment where all students feel valued, respected, and safe to express themselves. As a mentor in science, I try to provide students with the tools to evaluate information while also preparing them for a lifetime of engagement with the scientific method.  To achieve these goals, I try to provide students with metacognitive skills, build courses around course-based research experiences, and intentionally design inclusive and equitable classrooms using evidence-based strategies.”

Photo of Kristen Michelson

Kristen Michelson

“For me, teaching is about creating opportunities for students to learn, whether this involves guiding students to the right resources to discover new knowledge, or creating a community of learners whose collegial dialogues scaffold each other into new ways of thinking about taken-for-granted truths. The most rewarding part of teaching for me is that moment when a student realizes for themselves that they've learned something."

Photo of Cynthia Miller

Cynthia L. Miller

“What inspires me to teach is the desire to make a positive impact on the lives of my students by helping them achieve their goals and reach their full potential. I also find joy and fulfillment in connecting with my students and helping them navigate the challenges they encounter as young adults. Further, I have a deep passion for learning and find teaching to be a way to continue learning and exploring new ideas.”

Teaching Academy

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