Physiology lab manager Angela Seliga knows that meeting a professor one-on-one for office hours can be intimidating, so she’s set her office up to make it less daunting: there are couches, a mini-kitchen, even toys to play with.
“Before students take my class, they’ve usually only taken classes that have several hundred students in them,” Seliga (GRS’10) says. “They often feel a little disconnect with their faculty, and they are afraid to come to office hours. Word gets around that I have a couch. They’ll come for office hours, and then just ask if they can stay and study.”
Seliga, who came to BU to earn a PhD, teaches the College of Arts & Sciences biology department’s systems physiology labs. She also trains teaching fellows and undergraduate assistants. As a result, her office hours can get a little hectic—she often doesn’t have enough seating for all the students who come in, she says. She refers to one of her walls as the “wall of thanks”: on it are displayed years of thank-you cards from students. She also has a signed flag from a trip she took with students and other gifts.
In addition to her BU work, Seliga is passionate about training scientists even younger than college level. Many high school students, she says, are taught by teachers who don’t have a degree in science or adequate lab space. As a grad student, she spent a year teaching at Brighton High School, an experience that informed her later teaching. “That really fueled me to tell kids to not be afraid of science,” she says, “because I used to be that kid.”