Graduate Student Spotlight: Nara Wisesa

Nara Wisesa, Graduate Student in the Department of Marine Affairs (College of the Environment and Life Sciences), is ATL’s April 2024 Graduate Student Spotlight.

What course(s) do you or have you taught at URI?
I have taught BIO 103 in two previous semesters, and I am currently teaching BIO 104.

What is your proudest teaching moment?
My proudest teaching moment is actually quite simple and does not take place during the class. I feel a sense of pride every time my former student from previous semesters took the time to greet me and said hi when they saw me around campus, and when they reached out to me asking for my feedback on what they are currently working on or for their applications, even though I no longer teach them.

What are the three qualities that you think make for a great teacher?
(1) Humility to admit your mistakes as a teacher; (2) Willingness to listen to your student when they ask questions or give feedback; (3) Being flexible without making compromises that you would feel to be harmful to the students themselves

What do you hope students look back on in ten years and say about your classes?
I just hope that they still remember the name of the TA that taught their intro bio lab and wonder what I’m doing from time to time, or even google my name and send out an email just to say hi. If they decided to continue on a career in the field of biology, then I hope that the basic skills that I taught them in these labs would serve them well in their career (even if it’s just knowing how to merge spreadsheet cells and format cell borders!)

What is a difficult moment that you learned from in the classroom? What did you learn?
When I was teaching students how to write an R-Script code during the BIO 104 lab earlier this semester, the campus internet went down in the middle of my lab and everyone lost access to the online R Studio website and unable to work on the code needed for their assignment. Fortunately I have a backup offline code on my own laptop that I can show to my students, and I was able to squeeze in some coding work in the following week’s lab. What I learned was the need to have backups when teaching students to use something that depends on internet connection, and to be able to think on the fly and be flexible.

How do you relax after a long day of teaching?
I go home to my kids and play with them. If the day has been particularly stressful, I find that cooking a meal for my family soothes me.

What do you like to do for fun?
I play the Pokemon GO mobile game while walking around campus to get my daily steps in. If you see me walking around campus, please come and say hi, especially if you play the game as well!