Teaching Philosophy

For me, the responsibility of a teacher and mentor is to trigger and support students’ curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Thus, providing the broad societal significance and impact of a topic serves as a motivation for its study. As a student myself, I was most successful at learning when I was actively involved in the classroom and also in cutting-edge research questions. Thus, I emphasize active participation through in-class discussion and small group exercises. I enjoy motivating students to learn more about our environment and have them participate in the lab.

In order to prepare better for teaching I participated in the Stanford Postdoc Teaching Certificate. This certificate is based on building and improving one’s teaching skills, practicing new teaching techniques, and reflecting on one’s experiences for further improvement. Two thirds of the certificate are dedicated to teaching preparation and training and the remainder to teaching itself. I have taken some very illuminating classes specific for teaching undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields. In the course Science and Engineering Course Design at Stanford University, I was able to design a course I would love to have the chance to teach at the upper undergraduate/lower graduate level: Optimizing Plant-Microbe Interaction for Sustainable Agriculture.

Hands-on introduction to greenhouse work.

Teaching and Mentoring Experience

Stanford Teaching Certificate for Postdocs obtained in March 2018.

Summer students working on their research projects: growing rice in rhizotrons.

Teaching experience:

  • I have given lectures and taught modules on Soil Biology, Plant-Microbe-Soil Interactions, Root Exudation and Nutrient Acquisition, Microbiological Applications and Agricultural Management, Plant Effects on Soil Chemistry, and Anaerobic Soil Microbiology at Stanford University and other institutions.
  • I was also a teaching assistant for a few Geomicrobiological field excursions and lab rotations at the University of Tuebingen
  • I have undertaken about 50 environmental guided tours and about 15 3-day environmental education camps at Rondevlei and Zeekovlei Preserve, South Africa

Supervision and Mentoring of Students:

  • My passion is mentoring students - seeing them develop their scientific skills, getting to know them as individual persons and seeing this A-Ha moment in their face when data suddenly makes sense. 
  • I have (co)-supervised and mentored many different students ranging from high-school and undergraduate interns to bachelor and master students, PhD students and guest researchers.
  • Currently I directly mentor 1 PhD student (GreenCad) and am on the PhD committee of a PhD student at Stanford University.

Ultimate Frisbee Coaching and Volunteering Work

My passion besides science is playing Ultimate Frisbee - a highly athletic sport with an exceptional mentality and vibe. Check out this video for a brief explanation and then watch some highlighted scenes and games. Besides playing competitively for various clubs, I have enjoyed teaching beginner, advanced, and competitive classes at the University of Tuebingen. Latest I co-taught a class specifically for women.