Gerald Soosairaj

Gerald“Overall, the skills that I learned from the Delta Program at UW–Madison are super valuable to me as an educator and researcher in my current position. I am and will always be grateful to all the people associated with the Delta Program.”

Current Position: Assistant Teaching Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at University of California, San Diego

UW–Madison Career: Interdisciplinary PhD in Computer Sciences and Education

Delta Internship Project: “What Do Students Feel About Learning Programming Using Both English and their Native Language?”

What programming from Delta helped you become a more effective and evidence-based educator?

“College Classroom: International Faculty International Students,” taught by Michel Wattiaux helped me understand how to collect and use data from the classroom to improve my teaching and the experience of my students. Actually, this was the course that motivated me to pursue an interdisciplinary PhD in Computer Sciences and Education. Also, the Delta Internship conducted by Devin Wixon helped me understand how to perform evidence-based education research.

What did you learn about inclusive teaching practices at Delta?

In “College Classroom: International Faculty, International Students,” I learned how to value the experience of students from diverse backgrounds and how to leverage it to increase the classroom culture. I also felt that everything that Delta did was very inclusive for people from diverse backgrounds. Even though I was an international student at UW–Madison, Delta made me feel at home!

How did Delta programming shape your experience at UW–Madison?

My Delta internship project laid the foundation for my PhD dissertation. My internship project was on studying the impact of bilingual education on non-native English speakers learning computer programming. Then, based on the results that I got from this project, I decided to work on this topic and it ended up being my PhD thesis. Also, currently, this is my main area of research as an assistant professor. So, I would like to say that the experience with my Delta Internship project actually helped me define my own research area.

How did Delta help prepare you for the academic job market?

The Delta program was very helpful in preparing me for the academic job market. I learned how to give elevator pitches about my research in Anne Lynn Gillian-Daniel’s “Improv to Improve Science Communication and Teaching” course which was very useful during academic interviews. Also, Don L. Gillian-Daniel’s academic job market preparation seminar helped me understand how to write an effective CV/resume for academic jobs. I am always grateful to the Delta program at UW–Madison!