Teaching

My teaching focuses on student learning.


Hopefully you're now thinking, "Well, that's a bit obvious!," which is exactly the student learning environment I strive to create. By designing my courses so that complex topics come off as "obvious" I believe that students can understand and retain more information. To make topics seem obvious, I focus on equipping students with personal relevance, experience, and an intellectual understanding of supporting material that makes the complexity seem intuitive.

Some friends from a lecture slide

Some friends from a lecture slide near the end of a lecture each color is introduced slide by slide, and the silly drawings provide a story line to help students link the important concepts together

My teaching merges the importance of understanding fundamental chemical principals with the relevance of products used in the world around us. I use frequent in class demonstrations and hand specimens to help connect the blackboard material in meaningful ways to a diversity of student interests and passions. I am an advocate of pushing educational experiences beyond the typical classroom to create an immersive learning experience. My classes often include fieldtrips, and team projects while introducing opportunities for extracurricular engagement.


Olivine and YAG solid-state laser rods

Linking intellectual pursuits with tactile ones During a guest lecture for a Stanford Art History course, Ryan connects art history PhD students with clay, in-between describing the importance of reduction-oxidation chemistry in Greek black-figure pottery. Photo credit: Professor Jody Maxmin