DR. JONATHAN PARRISH, BIOCHEMISTRY
How did you get involved with your career?
I taught laboratory sections when I was a graduate student - I enjoyed it and received positive feedback from it. Once I was finished with my graduate studies, I became a research associate prior to being appointed as a sessional instructor in the department of Biochemistry. Once I gained more experience and visibility, I signed up for a faculty position at the University of Alberta when the opportunity arose.
How long have you been teaching for?
I was appointed a sessional instructor in 2006 as sessional instructor and as a faculty member in 2007.
What do you think is important if teaching a bigger, university class?
More than just understanding and knowing the material, it’s about your ability to engage and adapt to the class. The class may vary year to year – sometimes, a class grasps the concept right away, while other times, they do not – so, you must understand the audience accordingly.
How did you decide that science was right for you?
I always kind of knew that science was right for me. I looked at subjects in the list of options for a science degree once I began my university career, and decided to choose Biochemistry. I always had an affinity for science compared to other subjects – carried to this day.
If you had to give an advice to a budding science student, what would you give?
Talk to people and try to get as much experience you can (ex. through programs like the WISEST summer program where high school students can gain lab experiences). Often times, you aren’t sure of the possibilities and specialities that exist (high school breaks things down into broad subjects – multiple disciplines exist in just Chemistry, for instance!). But, disciplines can come together between departments as well; for instance, Microbiology and Biochemistry often intersect. Make sure to acquire maximum exposure and experiences.