Courses, Virginia Tech

  • Integrated Sciences Lecture (ISC 1105, 1106)

  • Integrated Sciences Laboratory (ISC 1115, 1116)

  • Principles of Biology Laboratory (BIOL 1115)

Teaching Philosophy

The core principle behind my teaching style encompasses compassion and kindness for my students. Teaching has been one the most rewarding experiences of my academic career as a graduate student. Looking back, I fondly remember my teachers, from back in school to most recently in university, that had a profound impact on how I viewed learning. When I started my journey as a graduate teaching assistant, I had excellent role models to emulate. I strive to inculcate the curiosity and zest that will result in a student feeling gratified from the wealth of knowledge they are receiving. It gives me immense joy to watch my students thrive and I consider their growing inquisitiveness as my most valuable contribution to their learning experience.

My personal style of teaching utilizes the basic foundations of constructivism. This arises from my students being the focus of learning. It involves creating an environment for open discussions and building a solid background. A concerted effort in comprehending the subject matter pushes students to explore further. Further interactions with my students focus on transforming my classroom into a hotbed of scientific intrigue. Students go on to apply the concepts they have learnt from these prior interactions with their peers as well as myself and this is where I believe most of their learning takes shape. Furthermore, I encourage both collaborative and individual problem-solving tasks for them to realize the importance of teamwork and at the same time instill a sense of independent learning.

With a background in Biological Engineering, teaching the Integrated Sciences Curriculum in the lab and as a lecture TA has been a wonderful experience. The curriculum is challenging for students, delving into critical concepts in Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. However, it is an extremely interesting syllabus that highlights some of the most essential theoretical concepts and practical applications of the sciences and helps students pick their major area of focus. As an interdisciplinary PhD student, I am able to relate with the issues the students face when working with multiple specialties and address their concerns with patience. I develop strategies to help my students deal with interdisciplinary concepts and teach them ways to integrate multiple sources of information using a systematic approach.

I genuinely care about my students and realize that learning capacity may vary from student to student. It is extremely important to me that my students are able to process the information and make sense of it. If some students require additional time to grasp concepts, I make myself available outside of the classroom. Furthermore, I am always open to my students’ valuable feedback. This also includes changing my teaching style to meet their needs. Self-awareness and the ability to reflect on individual student feedbacks are critical for evaluating myself as a potent communicator.

Teaching and learning are an integral part of my life. As a teaching assistant, I am able to enjoy both. Being able to foster critical thinking skills and encouraging students to explore beyond the scope of the classroom have resulted in some of my students achieving great successes. I have written recommendations for my students that have been offered research assistantships in the National Institute of Health and received summer fellowships at various research institutes. Their achievements are what I look forward to hearing. I teach because I believe in the potential of my students and know that every student in my classroom intends to learn. It is my job to make the transfer of knowledge interesting and exciting and to create an environment that is nurturing. I teach to help my students grow academically, personally and professionally.

Student Testimonials

  • She helped me learn a lot about biology through her simple way of presenting the material. She was also extremely willing to answer questions to make sure people understood the material.

  • I think Ms. Menon did an excellent job this semester. She briefly went over every lab before we started it and I felt like I knew what I was doing which is because of her teaching style. She is effective.

  • She was very helpful and engaged during labs. Whenever a group had a question, she would fully explain thoroughly and was very effective.

  • She helped us figure out the main parts of the lab without telling us the answer and helped inside and outside of the classroom

  • She engaged us in discussing the experiment before we did the actual experiment, which made our labs go smoothly.

  • She was very kind and genuinely seemed to care about my fellow students and I, and always took the time to help explain the material.

  • Nidhi was a wonderful TA and was so incredibly patient with us! She helped a great deal with the lab reports and explained what we needed to do very clearly.

  • Nidhi is by far one of the most helpful and caring TAs (or even professors) that I have ever had. She is wonderful and always takes extra time to explain things to the class. I really will miss her next year during ISC Lab.

  • Nidhi is honestly the best TA ever. She has a great personality and is always willing to help whether it be during labs or with questions on lab reports. She understands the class when we are struggling as a whole whether it’s with a topic or due date with a project, and was flexible and helpful when trying to find what would work best for everyone.

  • Very friendly and approachable, if we had questions, she would always explain it in a way that was simple enough to understand but, in enough detail, to help us learn.

  • Nidhi was very helpful all year. If we had questions, she answered them directly and in a straightforward manner and she never made us feel bad for not knowing the answer to something.

  • Nidhi is the best TA I have ever had and ever will have. She was always there to help, and she really understood us and related to us very well. She was always so prepared and helped us out when we were confused and didn't know what to do. I will really miss her next year.

Awards & Recognition

  • Nominated for Graduate Teaching Excellence Award, 2019

  • Nominated for Favorite Faculty, 2018

  • Associate Membership to the Virginia Tech Graduate Academy for Teaching Excellence, 2017