Q & A with Instructors

Ben Burke, Peer Instructor

Ben Burke , Peer Instructor

Hometown: Fort Mitchell, KY

Major: International Studies & Political Science major, senior

Advice for new students: Don't be afraid of failing or being considered "wrong;" be willing to ask questions in class and contribute your own opinions.

Impact from teaching UK 101: Being a Peer Instructor helped me improve my communication skills, specifically in regards to becoming a better listener. I was able to "hear" and understand the opinions and beliefs of the class and that allowed me to better interact with other students, professors, and employers.

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I wanted to become a Peer Instructor because I knew what kind of an impact UK 101 could potentially have on an incoming student. I was also looking for a way to get involved on campus and gain public speaking experience at the same time.  Becoming a Peer Instructor became a great resume builder but it also became much more—I will be able to take the skills I learned from UK 101 with me beyond graduation and into my future career.

Randi Barnett, Peer Instructor

Randi Barnett , Peer Instructor

Hometown: Lost Creek, KY

Major Graduating May 2012 and attending medical school in the fall

Advice for new students: Don't ever give up on your dreams. If you start experiencing academic problems during your first semester, don't be afraid to ask for help. UK has many organizations and programs that can help you, whether you need chemistry tutoring from "The Study" or some guidance from the Career Center on pursuing future career goals.

Impact from teaching UK 101: As a UK 101 peer instructor, I was able to improve my leadership and communication skills. By co-instructing UK 101 for three fall semesters, I learned to speak publicly with confidence. The skills that I have gained from teaching UK 101 helped tremendously during my medical school interviews and ultimately played a role in my acceptances. As a physician, these skills will also help me interact with my future patients!

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: As a shy small town girl from eastern Kentucky, I didn't have a lot of experience with public speaking. I chose to become a peer instructor so that I could break out of my shell and strengthen my communication skills. I also wanted to spend my time helping other students. In college, we often look to other students for academic and social advice. As a peer instructor, I was able to effectively reach out to students and help them with their transition into college. I still see students from my first semester of co-instructing UK 101, and it's a good feeling to see them excelling at UK and achieving their goals.

Waqar Khan, Peer Instructor

Waqar Khan, Peer Instructor

Hometown: Peshawar, Pakistan

Major: Electrical Engineering, senior who will attend graduate school in fall 2012 for Electrical Engineering

Advice for new students: Learn every single day. Don't put off things for tomorrow. If something is worth doing it, do it now. Success in college is influenced by how organized you are with your co-curricular activities and studies. So stay organized!

Impact from teaching UK 101: UK 101 taught me a lot of things. I met so many amazing people. When I was working on my graduate school application process, I was so proud that I was a peer Instructor for UK 101. Teaching the class equipped me with leadership skills and organization skills. All the UK101 course content was also helpful for me. I learned organization, time management, and other invaluable skills.

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: When I came to college, I didn't take UK101. I had so much trouble in finding the basic things. I struggled in organizing my schedule, I was not sure where to get involved, and I didn't know how to talk with my professors. When I heard about the UK 101 Peer Instructor position, I really wanted to become one because I didn't want any other international student searching for the basics of college education. I wanted to help freshmen and give them proper guidance to a successful college education.

Stephen Bilas, Peer Instructor

Stephen Bilas, Peer Instructor

Hometown: Louisville, KY

Major: Management & Finance, junior

Advice for new students: Academic success is not a reflection of mental capacity or intelligence, but rather an individual's willingness to succeed in both academics and life. I personally was never the smartest person in the room, but what allowed me to exceed those around me was my ability to work harder than everyone else. Establish your priorities as both a student and person and, more importantly, realize that the learning experience on the University of Kentucky's campus spans beyond the classroom.

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I chose to be a Peer Instructor to give back to the University for all of the opportunities it has given me. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for the students (many of who were also Peer Instructors) who helped me along the way when I first stepped foot on campus. There is only one reason to become a Peer Instructor, and it is not any form of compensation. You become a Peer Instructor because you want to leave UK in the hands of students who will lead it into a better future.

Luke Glaser, Peer Instructor

Luke Glaser, Peer Instructor

Hometown: Louisville, KY

Major:English and Hispanic Studies, junior

Advice for new students: Get involved in campus extracurricular activities. There are a ton out there, and by no means are you limited to the activities around your major or clubs you already have experience with. Be bold and try something new! You'll find it is a great way to make new friends and balance out the academics with fun and other interests (which, you might be surprised to find, often help with the academics).

Impact from teaching UK 101: If you are going into any field that requires you to lead, set an example, or teach others in any way, UK 101 will be of immeasurable help in shaping your skills. It was for me. Post-graduate destinations are usually very impressed with UK 101 peer instructors and want to know all about the unique experience.

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I wanted to be a peer instructor because I grew up with teachers in the family, and I knew how much they valued their experience. Regardless of whether I go into teaching or not, I wanted the opportunity to help new students integrate into the new college environment and share my experiences with them.

Elani Fouri, Peer Instructor

Kelsey Holland , Peer Instructor

Hometown: Paducah, KY

Major: Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education, junior

Advice for new students: If I could give one piece of advice to new students to help them succeed academically, it would be to not wait until the last minute to do anything. Don't wait until the last minute to do your homework, study for a test, or write a paper. Just don't procrastinate!

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I wanted to be a peer instructor because I remember being so nervous as a freshman at UK. As an upper-class student, I wanted to be a friendly resource to new students. UK is a large university, and I wanted to reach out to help students meet new people and provide them with information that would benefit them in the long run.

Megan Day, Peer Instructor

Megan Day, Peer Instructor

Hometown: Granger, IN

Major:Family Science , senior

Advice for new students:Get enough sleep and get involved on campus!

Impact from teaching UK 101: I recently was accepted to the Teach For America program, where I will be teaching at an impoverished school for two years. I started teaching UK 101 before I applied to the program, so it provided me with great practice on instructing students and was an important experience that I could add to my resume. My UK 101 faculty co-instructor even wrote one of my recommendation letters!

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I wanted to gain experience in the classroom and be someone that freshman students could look up to. My freshman year was probably my favorite year of college, and I wanted my students to feel the same way.

Elani Fouri, Peer Instructor

Timiah Dickerson, Peer Instructor

Hometown:Louisville, Kentucky (by way of Fort Knox)

Major:Social Work, junior

Advice for new students: The one piece of advice that I have is to step out of your comfort zone. Talk to someone who does not look like you! Visit a country that speaks English as a second language! Attend lectures that challenge your values and beliefs! If we expect to make a positive impact on the world, we must first learn about the people we share it with!

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I wanted to become a peer instructor because it provided me the opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with our future leaders and possibly make a difference in someone's life. I would not be the person I am today without the guidance and continued support I receive from my freshman year UK 101 instructor and peer instructor.

Caleb Fligor, Peer Instructor

Caleb Fligor, Peer Instructor

Hometown: Richmond, KY

Major:Chemical Engineering, junior

Advice for new students: The most important advice I have for new students is to study regularly. If you can develop the habit of studying class material often, instead of right before an exam, you will have a more concrete foundation to base new material on and will have a stronger conceptual understanding.

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I wanted to be a UK 101 Peer Instructor so that I could help introduce new students to UK's great resources. Campus can be intimidating to freshmen and, without special attention, wonderful opportunities can go unnoticed. Peer instructing UK 101 allows you to connect students to their community.

Shanshan Li, Peer Instructor

Shanshan Li, Peer Instructor

Hometown: Shenzhen, China

Major: Finance, senior

Advice for new students: Create a daily to-do list!!

Impact from teaching UK 101:The class and the students recharged me every day. I was inspired by the dreams of my students!

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I took this class when I first came to the United States and the University of Kentucky. I loved it because it made me feel welcome and my instructors were so kind and helpful. I wanted to give back and share these same things with other new students.

Shanshan Li, Peer Instructor

Asri Mumpuni, Peer Instructor

Hometown: Bandar Lampung, Indonesia/ Lexington, KY

Major: Biology and Spanish

Advice for new students: Study what you love and study hard. If you major in something you're truly interested in, all of the effort you dedicate to learning and all of the hours you spend in class will be much more meaningful

Reason for applying to be a Peer Instructor: I had a difficult transition from high school to college-- something I somehow thought I would have no problem with. My Peer Instructor, Abby Grafchik, with her insightful advice and welcoming smile always made my days brighter. Following Abby's lead, I wanted to help new students have a great first semester at UK. Not to mention, being a Peer Instructor seemed like a fun way to gain leadership experience and meet new students.

Joe Fink, Instructor

Joe Fink, Instructor

How long have you worked at UK?
Since the Summer of 1981

What is your position?
Professor of Pharmacy Law and Policy in the UK College of Pharmacy

Why do you teach UK 101?
I enjoy seeing the dramatic change in these students each year between the time they arrive on campus to start classes and when we wrap up UK 101 sessions in early November. By the end of the course they’re more confident that they can indeed match up with the academic expectations of a major US university.

What is your favorite UK 101 topic to address and why?
Each year we devote a session about 1/3 of the way through the course to discussing the students' UK experiences to date. We distribute 3x5 cards and ask them to answer three questions, using those to jump start our conversations.  The questions are [1] What has been the biggest surprise for you associated with attending UK? [2] What has been your biggest adjustment to college life? [3] What is one unanswered question you have about UK?

What is one piece of advice that you would give new students to help them succeed academically?
Be open to new ideas and innovative approaches that you may not have tried in the past during your academic life. Take full advantage of the many opportunities on campus.

Tammy Stephenson, Instructor

Tammy Stephenson, Instructor

How long have you worked at UK?
I have worked at UK as a faculty member for 10 years. Before joing the faculty in Nutrition & Food Science I completed my graduate work at the UK Medical Center.

What is your position?
Lecturer - Department of Nutrition & Food Science. In this capacity I teach several courses each semester and serve as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Human Nutrition.

Why do you teach UK 101?
I really enjoy working with incoming freshman and helping them to achieve success at UK. It is an honor to watch these young adults mature and blossom in their first year of college. I also enjoy that the class is small so I get to know the students much more than I would in most of my classes.

What is your favorite UK 101 topic to address and why?
There are so many topics I enjoy! One highlight of the semester is the "get to know your professor" assignment. As someone who works with a lot of students in the classroom I see the real value in students getting to know their professors to see that they are dedicated to helping students. And, of course, as a nutrition professor a highlight is always talking about the importance of diet and physical activity in staying healthy and happy and achieving academic success in college.

What is one piece of advice that you would give new students to help them succeed academically?

Go to class absolutely every day, sit in the front of the classroom, and engage in class discussion.
Cleo Price, Instructor

Cleo Price, Instructor

How long have you worked at UK?
I began working at UK in 1995 as an academic advisor in Arts and Sciences

What is your position?
I am currently the assistant dean in the Graduate School.  My area is responsible for insuring degree requirements have been satisfied by our graduate students as well as certifying their graduate degrees.

Why do you teach UK 101?
First, I teach UK 101 to stay in touch with my ancestry. My start at UK was with undergraduate and I have always enjoyed staying connected to first year students. Second, I greatly enjoy the interaction with undergraduate students, especially helping to define and organize their goals and objectives. Lastly, UK 101 students have such great energy and enthusiasm, which is contagious and I feed off their vigor.

What is your favorite UK 101 topic to address and why?
There are a number of important and interesting topics I really enjoy but the one at the top is the session 'Getting to Know Your Professor'.  Even as an advisor, I encouraged my students to take the time to get to know their professors or TAs beyond the classroom.  It becomes imperative that they know you and your goals, especially if you seek to attend professional school or graduate school after graduating.  They have a wealth of knowledge and information that students need to tap into. The old adage — you want your professor to know you are more than a student ID number — holds true.

What is one piece of advice that you would give new students to help them succeed academically?
There are several pieces of advice I would offer new students — establish some goals during your first semester through your last semester; learn to manage your time wisely; attend class (not all classes will be exciting or stimulating) regularly; get involved; if you are not a good math person, join a study group; and use the talents and knowledge of your advisor (they are some of the smartest people on campus :+}).

Albert Kalim, Instructor

Albert Kalim, Instructor

How long have you worked at UK?
Eight years: four years as a student and four years as a faculty and staff member.

What is your position?
I teach UK 101 and I manage http://www.ukalumni.net for the UK Alumni Association

Why do you teach UK 101?
Because I care about students, I want them to be connected, and I hope they succeed at UK.

What is your favorite UK 101 topic to address and why?
Campus Resources because I can find out what they know already and I can help them with what they do not know yet. In addition, I can get to know them better and be able to encourage them to get involved with the things they love to do on campus.

What is one piece of advice that you would give new students to help them succeed academically?
Get involved — even when it is out of your comfort zone, make lifelong friendships and network, do well in your classes, and take time to give back to the university.

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