Office Hour: The Brain-y Teacher – Professor John Stein


About the Office Hour columnist: Shierly Mondianti is a Junior at Brown concentrating in Political Science. She is originally from Indonesia, Jakarta, but has spent a lot of time in Singapore, and Seattle. She enjoys watching national geographic and the history channel. In her spare time, she likes writing, hanging out with friends, and talking about anything and everything under the sun!

Professor of the week: Professor John Stein
Neuroscience Department
Written by: Shierly Mondianti

This week, I sat down with Professor Stein from the Neuroscience department. For the Fall 2013 semester, he is teaching three undergraduate classes: Principles of Physiology, The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience, and Communicating Science

S: How did you get started as a professor? Where were you before Brown?
J: I wasn’t too far away. I was here as a graduate student. When I was finishing up my graduate work, I realized I enjoyed teaching as much as I did research. So I thought it would be a good idea to start teaching and it evolved into a position.

S: What made you interested in Neuroscience?
J: When I was an undergrad, I was a bio concentrator. In one semester I took a psychology and physiology course. They talk about the brain with two different points of views and I was interested to see where those points of views meet.

S: What was your favorite high school subject?
J: Biology, absolutely, but science courses in general too.

S: What is your favorite class to teach? What class will you be teaching or is teaching at the moment?
J: It is like asking me to pick my favorite child. I can’t pick, they are all so different.

S: You seemed to be very involved in the community and you seem to focus a lot of your time in developing science education. Why is that important to you?
J: Most of the work I have done is in education. It started with outreach activities going to middle and high schools and introducing them to neuroscience; something that they don’t get introduced to. Through that I learn a lot of teaching methods they don’t teach you how to teach at grad school. Good teaching practice in the science—inquiry based learning, I didn’t realize how diverse the topic is there is an approach to teaching and learning

S: If there is one thing that you could say to a prospective student, what would it be? Do you have any tips for them?
J: I guess it would be to make sure whatever you concentrate in, to give yourself an opportunity to get an in-depth practical experience in that field. A chance to actually do that particular discipline, so you can fully take advantage of the university college.

S: If you could be one of the four seasons, which would it be and why?
J: Summer. It is much more lively.

S: Tell us a unique fact/hobby about you!
J: I guess right now it will be brewing beer at home. I usually start doing it this time of the year

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