July 31, 2023

TA Spotlight 2022-2023

In this post, we spotlight a few of our ECE TAs and learn a little bit more about them.

Stephany Ayala-Cerna EE 233, EE 333

About TA-ing This Quarter: I love helping students gain more knowledge about the subjects they’re learning, and I love seeing their interests grow.

An unexpected aspect of TA-ing: I did not expect to like the teaching process so much. It really made me find a new kind of appreciation for all instructors who are passionate about student learning.

What would you change about TA-ing in the ECE Department: I think allowing for more TAs for more than just the intro level classes. All ECE classes are tough, and having more support is always appreciated. 

How do you see TA-ing helping you in your career? I learned a lot of valuable soft skills that I would have not otherwise learned so early on in my career.

Memorable TA incidents: I really enjoyed working with the teaching team to make experiences better for students. It was always fulfilling when students also appreciated our work and the effort that we put into their learning.

A word of advice for future aspiring TAs: Take advantage of the resources you have around you as an instructor. You never know if teaching becomes one of your passions. This is your time to find out!


Sushree Subhasmita Jena
EE 201

About TA-ing This Quarter: I had the opportunity to serve as the pre-doctoral instructor for the EE 201 course during the Winter and Spring quarters. It was a remarkable experience for me, as I took charge of comprehending the course description, understanding students’ expectations, and developing and implementing course materials. It is truly gratifying when you can contribute towards facilitating a good learning experience for the students. I have observed that even on days when I am feeling a bit low, teaching the class, and engaging with the students magically boosts my mood, instilling confidence, and happiness within me. More than just being an instructor, it is the connection with the students and the journey that truly makes a difference.

An unexpected aspect of TA-ing: The level of responsibility and organization required to effectively manage the course. Balancing these administrative tasks with my own academic commitments required me to develop strong organizational skills and prioritize tasks effectively. I never anticipated the profound impact that guiding and supporting students would have on my own development as a mentor.

What would you change about TA-ing in the ECE Department:  To enhance the TA-ing experience, we can consider facilitating interactions and feedback between TAs and faculty through more events. Expanding TA training programs to include webinars, workshops, guest lectures, and team-building activities.

How do you see TA-ing helping you in your career? I firmly believe TA-ing offers significant opportunities for both professional and personal development. Through my experience as a pre-doc instructor, I have witnessed substantial growth in my ability to effectively convey complex ideas, adapt to diverse learning styles, and provide constructive feedback. It has provided a platform for me to connect with students and faculty members within the department, enabling valuable feedback and fostering relationships. I have developed greater confidence in tackling challenges and managing individuals. The role has taught me how to work within constraints, optimize available resources, and maximize outcomes. I firmly believe that these skills are highly transferable and will prove invaluable in my future career path, including industry and leadership roles.

Memorable TA incidents: There are a lot of small, eventful, and special moments associated with this experience. To mention a few: 1. Witnessing students’ excitement as they successfully debugged and made their hardware work 2. Receiving positive feedback from students at the end of the Winter quarter, expressing how they enjoyed learning from me and had a great experience overall. 3. Appreciation and support from Prof. Klavins and Prof. Payman in implementing new changes

A word of advice for future aspiring TAs: Just be yourself and be mindful of students’ expectations both for the course and for you as an instructor/TA. Recognize that the expectations and skill sets of students may vary each quarter, even for the same course. When teaching or explaining a concept, adopt the perspective of a student to ensure clarity and effective understanding. It’s perfectly fine to admit when you don’t know something or make mistakes. Instead of improvising or providing uncertain answers, acknowledge these instances and assure the students that you would follow up with them.