Student Engagement

I engage with students directly through teaching and collaboration on research projects, and indirectly, through administrative work that creates educational opportunities for students.


Philosophy and Practice: I believe students learn best by doing, and that my role is to spark curiosity and then act as a “guide on the side” rather than a “sage on the stage”. Guiding effectively does not mean sitting around to answer student questions: it means providing digestible content and then carefully structuring scaffolded, hands-on learning experiences targeted to students’ abilities and content mastery. As a good statistician, I recognize that grades based on infrequent, high stakes assessment are likely to be a poor reflection of students’ true knowledge scores, and so I prefer frequent low-stakes assessments. 

As research on best practices in teaching evolves, my teaching practices must also change. I am grateful to Rutgers-Camden for providing opportunities for me to regularly reinvigorate my teaching (Fellowships in Digital Teaching (2013) and Engaged Civic Learning (2021), and ACUE’s year-long certification program for effective teaching in 2022-2023).  

Awards: My teaching has been recognized by multiple awards, including by the Rutgers Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence (in 2016), and the Rutgers-Camden Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2015).

Courses: (Since 2017, I have had a reduced teaching load because of my service obligations.) Most recently, I developed a new course called “Data-Motivated Storytelling”, which fulfilled the statistics requirement for the Rutgers-Camden MA in Psychology, and which I taught at both an undergraduate and a graduate level (2020 and 2022).  Course description:

  • Course description for Data-Motivated Storytelling: How can we best use data to tell (true) stories? Why is it important to consider storytelling as well as statistics to communicate the results of research? In this applied course, we learn about the value of storytelling with data and practice (over and over!) visualizing data to tell clear stories to a general (as opposed to academic) audience. Students in this class will create stories either about health disparities or about about the relationship between social connections and health using New Jersey data. To develop visualization skills, the class will focus on using basic concepts from human perception and memory to create simple, clear graphs. No advanced statistics or design skills are required (most visualizations can be created in Excel or Powerpoint); instead, we will combine basic elements of methods, quantitative and qualitative analysis, design, communications, sensation and perception to communicate clearly and effectively. Grades will be based on frequent low-stakes assessments, content quizzes, and a scaffolded final project. There are no exams. This course is cross- listed as an undergraduate and a graduate course. Both sets of students will work from the same canvas site, but assignments and rubrics may differ between the two groups.

Syllabi: Following are links to syllabi of one instance of each course I have taught since 2015. 

Research with students:

  • Prior to 2017, I primarily worked with undergraduate students on my basic science perception research. Each semester, I worked with 2-5 undergraduates to answer basic science questions about visual perception and memory.  Students gained valuable skills in literature review, data collection, data analysis and writing. Several of my undergraduate students presented posters at national conferences (the annual Vision Sciences Society meeting in Florida) and co-authored papers with me. Students worked with me through independent study course credit or as paid research assistants (supported my my NSF CAREER Award). 
  • Since 2017, I have worked with graduate students from multiple disciplines (including psychology, criminal justice, computer science, math, social work, public affairs, computational biology, and urban systems). Students worked on projects related to public and population health, including on conducting community health needs assessments, gathering and analyzing COVID-19 data, and supporting grant-making initiatives.  Students were co-authors on a variety of scholarly products, including peer-reviewed journal articles, research briefs, technical documentation, and contracted reports. Their time was funded by internal and external grants and contracts. 
  • I am on sabbatical for the 2022-2023 academic year and not currently supervising any students.  


  • As Faculty Director and then Director of the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs (WRI) from 2017-2021, I worked with Kristin Curtis (Associate Director, WRI) to create paid research opportunities for 68 Arts & Sciences undergraduate and graduate students. WRI is an applied research and public service center at Rutgers University-Camden.  Students working at WRI gain expertise in both hard and soft skills as they partner with community organizations to advance knowledge and make a real-world impact in southern New Jersey.  Depending on the project, skills include research design, data collection, data analysis, writing for community audiences, writing for community audiences, specific software training (NVIVO, Stata, SPSS), teamwork, leadership, and networking. 
  • WRI has been an excellent professional stepping stone for many students. WRI students have gone on to graduate programs at other universities, careers in state and local government agencies, and nonprofits.  The following is a non-exhaustive list of jobs that were next steps for WRI students after graduating from Rutgers-Camden: full-time research coordinator at WRI, policy analyst for behavioral health at The Council of State Governments; administrative specialist at the New Jersey Courts; bilingual family service specialist at New Jersey Department of Children and Families; health research associate for the City of Bridgeport in Connecticut; lab manager for a research lab at Carnegie Mellon University; research economist at New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
  • Although I am no longer leading WRI, it remains an excellent resource for students!  Please reach out to Associate Director Kristin Curtis ( or visit WRI’s website for information about student opportunities. 
  • On July 1, 2023, I will become Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education for Arts & Sciences at Rutgers University-Camden, where I will work to enrich student educational opportunities.