I started studying engineering because I was genuinely motivated to make an impact on society by developing technological innovation that can benefit people’s lives while imparting my knowledge to others. The etymology of the word engineer (i.e., ingegnere) in Italian, my native language, provides an excellent synthesis of these skills. The root of this word, “ingenium” (i.e., the Latin for cleverness), emphasizes the thinking process of dealing with new situations on which this profession relies.
As summarized below, I had the chance to serve as a principal instructor and a guest lecturer in a number of undergraduate and graduate level classes offered at the Universities where I was serving as a researcher or a professor.
Having faced a very heterogeneous student population, I learned that each student responds differently to instructions. The fact that diverse and active teaching techniques are required to optimize the students’ learning curve is the main takeaway from my experience. Working with graduate students who were researching for the first time needed me to guide them to stay focused, perform efficient and comprehensive tests, and successfully analyze data. While working with undergraduate students, I learned that they needed a more structured teaching methodology.
My goal as an instructor is trying to students to successfully take on the challenges they will meet in their future careers. I firmly believe that teaching engineering subjects should emphasize the practical and application side of the topic and not just concentrate on a small piece of the global picture. I believe that the role of a professor goes beyond assisting students in merely gaining knowledge about a specific topic. It also has to focus on helping them to develop study and analyze methods applicable to other subjects, contexts, and circumstances. In all my classes, I tend to replicate scenarios the students could find in their future professional career. For this reason I give strong emphasis to to practical applications and laboratory simulations. I focus my courses on helping students gain an appreciation of engineering problems, thus including in each lecture a theoretical part and its utilization in real-world scenarios to give students their first exposure to the tasks an engineer may be required to address.
Besides my role of an instructor, I also had the opportunity to mentor and advise several undergraduate and graduate students. A summary of this activity (students and research projects) is listed here:
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL
UNIVERSITY OF CALABRIA, ITALY