Adam Hersperger, Associate Professor of Biology, talks about teaching at Albright College.
Meet Our Faculty: Adam Hersperger
When I was growing up, I remember getting my first microscope and going outside; ants, leaves, I loved it. You start to see the microscopic world and how things work and what they're made of, and that was really neat. When I was in graduate school, I had the opportunity to be teaching assistant. When I was able to start working with the undergraduates, I really fell in love with the idea of being a teacher, and a scholar, and working with students on a day to day basis. I am Adam Hersperger, and I'm an associate professor of biology. My favorite thing about teaching microbiology is to see the students get really excited and interested because it's a very interesting field. The study of bacteria and viruses and parasites, whether it's a medical relevance, say a disease, or even using it for our own benefit in some way to maybe make a vaccine or treatment. There are all kinds of things that you can do with these microbes, and it's a really exciting field. Our majors in biology or bio chemistry, learn primarily two ways in the classroom, which is lecture based. We discuss articles, learn concepts together. And then the other piece would be the laboratory, where they get the hands on experience with the instrumentation, learning the hands on components of what it means to be a scientist, and to analyze data, and to think critically.
My expectation of students when they come to class is that they have done the reading, they've done the homework, and they're prepared to participate in the activities of that day. Whether it's discussing a paper or taking part in a debate, they get the most out of the experience and learn the most when they come prepared. My students take the skills that they learn here and can apply them to opportunities for internships at pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, hospitals, and major academic research centers. They get a lot of additional hands on and real world experience. When they do these off site internships, I've noticed that students that all bright having gone through the curriculum, gain that experience, and they excel in those other opportunities. One of the advantages, and one reason I love being here is that because of small class sizes, I can identify students who might need encouragement or little extra help along the way. The thing that I tried to do the most is to listen, and ask questions. From the information student gives me I can maybe help them from my own experience to look at this career, or this field, or help guide them to some other office on campus where they can learn that information. It feels great to help the students because that's my goal. That's why I'm here. I think some people have the perception that scientists are boring, and we do mundane things. But we ask interesting questions. We do important stuff. When we generate data or we travel-- We really get to have fun talking about science, and what it means, about our data. So I keep this picture to remind me of what it was like when I first started so I won't lose that passion.
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