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Dr Anna Newman-Griffis
210 Darwin Building
UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment
Dr Anna Newman-Griffis profile picture
  • Lecturer (Teaching) in Biological Sciences
  • Genetics, Evolution & Environment
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
I am a queer, neurodivergent Biology educator and plant scientist originally from the Washington, DC area of the United States. I completed by Bachelor's in Biology at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, studying the flowering time and gene regulatory networks of the prairie legume Chamaecrista fasciculata. I completed my PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at The Ohio State University in the lab of Dr. Iris Meier. My primary focus was on the movement and positioning of nuclei during symbiosis initiation in the model legume Medicago truncatula. 

During my PhD I realized that I had a passion for teaching, and so taught at a few institutions before moving to my first teaching Lecturer position at University of Pittsburgh in 2020. Following two years at Pitt, my partner and I decided to relocate to the UK, and I took up my current position at UCL, where I am excited to further my work in undergraduate education.

Teaching Summary

In my teaching practice, I view my role as that of a facilitator and guide. Thus, my primary job as an instructor is to develop educational materials, communication strategies, and classroom environments that facilitate students discovering biology for themselves. My classrooms are highly collaborative, egalitarian spaces that intentionally blur the demarcation between educator and student, inviting my students on a journey with me through biological topics. 

I create these educational spaces by communicating my trust in and empathy with students, facilitating shared vulnerability that helps students communicate with and learn better from both myself and their peers. I work hard to harness the diversity in my classrooms, grouping students such that they can mentor each other, as well as weaving a wide variety of perspectives and representation into my teaching materials. 

Finally, I am a firm believer in transparency in the educational system. Students' frustrations in classroom so often originate from a feeling of hopelessness or a lack of control over their own education. Further, a lack of clarity can contribute significantly to opportunity gaps between students that belong to historically underrepresented and historically overrepresented groups. I address transparency primarily with radical honesty, as well as a variety of material developmental strategies that help my students understand the goal of my assignments, as well as how to succeed in my classroom. 

AUG-2020 – AUG-2022 Lecturer Biological Sciences University of Pittsburgh, United States
AUG-2019 – DEC-2019 Adjunct Instructor Biology Capital University, United States
AUG-2019 – JUN-2020 Instructor Center for Life Sciences Education The Ohio State University, United States
JAN-2019 – JUL-2019 Adjunct Instructor Biology Columbus State Community College, United States
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