Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
325 Building 4
Phone: 706 542 9927
I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Spain of Spanish and Cuban families. I am a wildlife veterinarian and ecologist. I have a joint appointment at the D.B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the College of Veterinary Medicine. I am inherently a “field person” and most of my work involves field studies, but remember that all good science requires laboratory and experimental work. I have ample experience in international work, primarily in Latin America and will continue to pursue research in that region. Due to my training, my research interests cover a wide range of topics from pure ecological studies to specific wildlife diseases. For further details on my professional career click CV.
My teaching philosophy is one of teaching through leadership, not intimidation; of emphasizing cooperation, not competition; promoting excellence at every level; instilling confidence; promoting independent, critical thinking, while understanding a need to clearly express objectives and expectations, understanding that different people learn differently and that, in the end, enthusiasm and passion for a topic are infectious! I strongly believe in students taking responsibility for their own development, yet know that undergraduates, for example, need more motivation and supervision to understand how and why this sense of ownership is paramount to their future. My primary goal in teaching is creating a mixture of opportunities that allow my students to surpass me by leaps and bounds. I prefer training through doing, yet understand this cannot always translate in the classroom. I believe teaching, like science, should follow proven methods, but strive towards innovation and that learning is an active process, so teaching should be an active process. I believe that in order to become an excellent educator, you have to measure success through self-designed evaluations and invite feedback, (and learn from), students and peers and recognize teaching is an evolutionary process. Lastly, I do not think you reach a level where you are an excellent educator, but rather becoming an excellent teacher is a never-ending process.
I have some very specific goals related to my teaching philosophy: 1) I specifically want to promote a truly multidisciplinary environment. I have experienced first-hand what happens when you become entrenched in your own discipline and what can be gained from being exposed to a variety of perspectives to the same problem early on. I want to be certain that I can offer that to my students. 2) I want to promote diversity in teaching. I am the daughter of immigrants and believe that, particularly in Georgia, we could do more to engage the Hispanic community. I am specifically interested in attracting more Latin American students to the field of wildlife management, wildlife disease and veterinary medicine, all areas in which this group is grossly underrepresented. 3) I am specifically interested in teaching students how to develop a vision for their own future. I believe that when students take ownership of their learning, when they can visualize a future job, or a future challenge, and truly understand how classes can get them closer to that path, or provide them with tools they need, they are more likely to succeed and enjoy their coursework in the meantime.