In 2007, we developed a new series of courses for entering students called the First Year Inquiry Series. The pivotal course for the first year experience was in the area of Comparative Cultures taught by Professor Susan Setta, Chair of the Philosophy and Religion Department. She repeated the course again in the fall of 2008: Theology, Ethics and Practice in the World’s Religions. Seven upper-class students were Teaching Assistants in her course its first year. After wildly successful first and second years, we expanded our Teaching Assistantship opportunity to other First Year Inquiry courses. Each year, we have a number of students who assist faculty in these classes.
Being a TA offers an opportunity for undergraduate Honors students to work with a professor and peers, be part of the First Year Honors Program team, share knowledge and skills with entering students, and build their resume for graduate school or employment.
Our Honors Teaching Assistants attend all class lectures, facilitate/lead discussion groups, assist students in meeting class assignments, and are available to students in their classes during weekly conference hours among other responsibilities.
Look for the announcements for each semester’s teaching assistant slots or make an appointment with one of the Honors Advisors to learn more about this opportunity.
Fall 2013 Honors Teaching Assistants
Alyssa Bezreh & Kelsey Goodin: Professor Waleed Meleis, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Alyssa Bezreh: I am a third-year Electrical and Computer Engineering major, and I am currently a TA for Professor Meleis’ Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar, HONR 3310, Limits on Scientific Knowledge: Chaos, Complexity, and Non-Computability. I took Professor Meleis’ class last fall, and it has been a great experience to view this class from a different perspective this semester.
As a TA, I have the opportunity to read every student’s response to the material presented in class and readings each week. In addition to grading these responses, I offer feedback and ask questions to further their thoughts. My other responsibility is to monitor the online discussion board. The students are required to post three times a week in the discussion board because the topics of this class give way so naturally to conversation. The topics are often so abstract, mind boggling, yet relatable to everyday life that I think everyone benefits from these interactions, including myself as a TA. Although my main goal is to keep the students thinking, I have truly learned a lot from them as they share their ideas each week.
Kelsey Goodin: I am a third-year Mathematics major from Chesapeake, Virginia. This semester, I worked as teaching assistant for Professor Meleis in HONR 3310, Limits on Scientific Knowledge: Chaos, Complexity, and Non-Computability, an Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar that discusses factors that can limit our pursuit of knowledge in scientific fields and culminates in a student research project. I had the pleasure of taking this course last fall and found it very applicable to my major. For my final project, I was able to research how chaos theory is found in the growth of populations and see things I had learned in my math courses come to life.
This semester, I was responsible for grading each of the five homework assignments given throughout the semester. I found the grading to be challenging at times, but I know that I’ve learned a lot of about how to evaluate others’ work. Now, I understand how important the presentation of one’s work can be; which I know will be helpful to me in the remainder of my time here at Northeastern.
Jillian Chaffee: Professor Heather Littlefield, Department of Linguistics
I am a fourth-year Junior with a double-major in Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics. I’ve always been fascinated by people and how they communicate, and being able to TA for Professor Heather Littlefield’s First-Year Inquiry course, HONR 1209, Me Tarzan, You Jane! The Uses of Language in Literature: Linguistic Reality or Linguistic Fiction? was a perfect chance to share those passions with incoming Honors students! It was great to be able to learn more about a topic I was already interested in by preparing assignments and doing research to help the students delve deeper into the topic.
I got a lot out of this experience, not only professionally, but personally. I was able to work with one of my favorite professors, learning more about how she works, and how to go about putting together an assignment for a class. I was able to do research on topics that I am fascinated by, but would not necessarily have time to involve myself in otherwise. Overall, I had fun, which is something that not everybody gets to say about their jobs! It was a great experience I would definitely recommend to others in the future!
Elissa Dakers: Michael Patrick MacDonald, Honors Writer in Residence
I am a second-year student from Glastonbury, Connecticut, majoring in International Affairs and Anthropology. This was my first year as a TA for Michael Patrick MacDonald’s course, HONR 1205, The North of Ireland: Conflict, Reconciliation, and the Ongoing Quest for Peace. This class covers the history of the North of Ireland, focusing on the Troubles, and ending with the peace process. Students are encouraged to choose their own unique perspectives to further explore topics covered in class in the culminating term paper. I took this course during my freshman year at Northeastern.
My main responsibilities were working with Professor MacDonald to revise the syllabus, quizzes, tests and other course documents, collecting and grading quizzes and other assignments, and updating BlackBoard. As an Honors TA, it was an honor to work so closely with Michael Patrick MacDonald and develop that relationship with a professor that I would not have had otherwise!
Kevin Gozzi: Professor Lee Makowski, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
During the Fall semester, I had the privilege and pleasure to be the Teaching Assistant for Professor Makowski’s HONR 1206, New Strategies in the Fight Against Cancer First-Year Inquiry course. After taking the class last year with Professor Makowski, I was asked to TA the course and was delighted. Throughout this year, I have seen the curious First-Year Honors students delve into the causes, as well as the past, present and future therapies, of cancer. In the middle and at the end of the course, the students were asked to give written and oral reports on certain topics in cancer that they found interesting. This was an enlightening experience for both my professor and me. On a more general note, the students were in their first semester, so they were transitioning to becoming college students just as I was transitioning to being a TA. From this experience, I have realized that I enjoy teaching and I strongly intend to pursue future opportunities to teach.
As the TA, I was responsible for providing the students with review sessions to help prepare them for the tests. The most important role I had was to assist the students with their writing mid-term and final papers. Beyond just helping with writing strategies, I assisted the students with finding articles for their papers, as well as providing constructive criticism of their work. Also, I helped out during the midterm and final paper presentations, keeping track of who asked questions for participation credit. Overall, this experience was very rewarding and I truly appreciate having such an opportunity to teach and learn as an Honors Teaching Assistant.
Ali Matalon & Samantha Odreman: Professor Dennis Shaughnessy, Department of Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Ali Matalon: I am a second-year Political Science and International Affairs major. I took Professor Dennis Shaughnessy’s First-Year Inquiry course HONR 1205, Social Entrepreneurship and Global Development: How to Change the World for the Poorest of the Poor in my first semester at Northeastern. The class changed my perception of how I could impact the world I live in by exposing me to a multitude of poverty alleviation methodologies. Subsequently, I’ve completed the Global Social Entrepreneurship Minor and am pursuing a Business minor.
I’ve had the opportunity to work as an Honors student for Professor Shaughnessy, travel with him and the Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) team to the Dominican Republic for a field study program, and now work as a Teaching Assistant for the class I took last year. Assisting Professor Shuaghnessy with this class has provided me with the opportunity to review the work I did and share my experiences with students in hope that it will in some way be helpful to them. I am also helping Professor and his team to develop a new Capstone course and field practicum trip. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have been given and hope I can continue to engage in this type of work in the future.
Samantha Odreman: I am a second-year student from Caracas, Venezuela in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Currently, I am majoring in International Affairs while pursuing minors in French, Psychology, and Global Social Entrepreneurship.
I am currently a TA for Professor Shaughnessy in his HONR 1205, Social Entrepreneurship and Global Development: How to Change the World for the Poorest of the Poor First-Year Inquiry course. Professor Shaughnessy’s class is a challenging, innovative course for students looking to engage in the difficult task that is alleviating poverty. Throughout the semester, students learn alternative methods to reduce poverty and the impact of social investments. What is unique about this course is that, after examining and evaluating different social enterprises and organizations, students get the opportunity of applying their knowledge to invest $10,000 in a social enterprise of their choice. This hands-on approach to learning allows students to really participate and get involved.
As a TA, I am responsible for grading quizzes, helping students when they have questions, providing an organized classroom setting, and other various administrative tasks. I am also responsible for contacting and bringing in Guest Lecturers and organizing different activities for the class. I believe being a TA has definitely allowed me to gain perspective on what it is like to teach and the effort given to prepare a course. I have been able to expose myself further to poverty and poverty alleviation approaches, which is something I truly value and am passionate about. Working with Professor Shaughnessy has been a priceless opportunity; I have been able to get more involved with the Social Enterprise Institute; I am part of the E-board for the Social Enterprise Institute Student Association; and I am also an Honors Scholars, which gives me the opportunity of tracking the impact of the investment made last year. It has been an amazing experience and I hope I am able to do it again in the future.
Elijah McTigue: Professor Stephen Nathanson, Department of Philosophy & Religion
I am a second year student majoring in Economics and Mathematics, and this Fall semester, I had the privilege of being the Teaching Assistant for Professor Nathanson’s HONR 1209, Markets, Governments, and Economic Justice. I took this class during my first semester at Northeastern University, and I consider it one my most important early classes: It addresses many of the primary concerns that prompted my interest in economics, and I was glad to assist Professor Nathanson.
As a TA, my primary responsibility was to be available for student questions. I was available for e-mail correspondence to clarify concerns regarding major papers and class ideas in general, and I helped review and provide feedback for student papers. I also answered questions after class (Professor Nathanson frequently had a long line of inquisitive students), handled class attendance, and performed various administrative tasks (such as applying for book holds). I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this fascinating class once more and for the relationship I was able to develop with Professor Nathanson, whose insight I value.