Lily M. is a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering junior who is currently in her second year of being the Teaching Assistant for Chemical Engineering Today. This course is a required course for all freshman Chem BE majors, as it explores career paths after Chem BE and invites guest lecturers to provide students with advice and guidance. Find out what Lily had to say about her job as a TA:
Claudia G.: What was the coolest thing you’ve done on the job?
Lily M.: I make liquid nitrogen ice cream for the students on the first day. It’s always great once it works.
C.G.: Has it ever not worked?
L.M.: The first year I did it it didn’t. It was really embarrassing, but I made up for it the next week! And this year it worked perfectly and everyone loves it.
C.G.: That sounds so fun! What flavor ice cream do you make?
L.M.: Just vanilla, but we give them a bunch of toppings to choose from!
C.G.: What’s the hardest part about being a TA?
L.M.: The hardest part is working with and organizing all the professionals to come in. Sometimes they won’t respond to me because they know I’m a student, so they unfortunately think it’s okay to just ignore me.
C.G.: Are you responsible for scheduling every single speaker that comes in throughout the semester?
L.M.: Yes! My job is very responsibility-heavy, and the professor actually relies on me to have all the classes planned.
C.G.: How are the classes structured? Are they led by the professor?
L.M.: Since there’s a guest speaker every single week, the professor introduces them and then they share their insight on the field. The speaker does the whole class.
C.G.: What is the hardest part about balancing work and school?
L.M.: Honestly it hasn’t been that hard once I finished scheduling all the speakers. The most difficult part of my job was really concentrated towards the end of the summer and beginning of the semester. It’s hard to make sure everyone that’s scheduled actually comes in and I’m constantly communicating with them during the year.
C.G.: Would you recommend being a student employee to other students?
L.M.: Yes! I think it’s wonderful because I’ve gotten really close with the professor that I work for. That has led me to having recommendations from her. It also helps me with my leadership skills because sometimes I have to run the classes. It also looks great on a resume, and I get paid!