Eye-Opening Class Memory

Krystel A. Navarro-Acevedo

In the last issue, we asked alumni to tell us about their most eye-opening class.  Krystel A. Navarro-Acevedo, 2016 MS in Plant Pathology, shared her memory of Dr. Jason Slot's mycology class:

The class had a mixture of plant pathology related topics and general mycology. The professor was always prepared for class and was very open to any type of questions that came from students. One of the most amazing things about this class was that he brought in recent papers and discussed them as part of the material in a very simple way. One of the best parts of the lab was when Dr. Slot asked us to bring a dish that was made from fungi and share with other students. It was so interesting to learn about why fungi are so important in this world and also taste some of them and learn about dishes from other countries. He also talk about the influence of fungi in different cultures around the world and how fungi have been so important for evolution. In the lab, everything was hands on and allowed students to come up with new ideas about the topic. We also had to work in teams but in a different way. We all did the experiments independently but we had to interact with others to understand the results and move forward. He created an environment of friendship, and it was also very fun. His exams were challenging but focused on what you learned in class. Exams challenged us to really focus on understanding the material rather than memorizing it. As a person, Dr. Slot is very humble and bright, and I was very happy to be part of his class. I also had the opportunity to be a TA for his class and this was a very gratifying experience. In order for us to get a satisfactory grade, we had to come up with new laboratory material. I worked with my peer Emile Gluck Thaler (also a graduate student), and we both came up with new ideas that resulted in very interesting outputs. This was a very nice thing because it allow us to think outside the box and find new ways to teach the material in a different and fun way. Finally I think Dr. Slot was very open to the different cultures, academic backgrounds and also respected the opinion of every student. I really think he made a difference in my life and career.