RVU Celebrates National Teacher’s Day!

Dr. Nena Mason, Director of Gross Anatomy and Director of Predoctoral Anatomy Fellowship

What motivated you to become a professor?

Early in college, I got a job at my university tutoring anatomy and physiology with groups of about 30 students for 15 hours a week and I fell in love with teaching. Prior to that I was premed and intended to be a physician. After my experiences in that job, I didn’t want to do anything but teach, and my passion for education has only grown since then.

What is your favorite thing about being a professor at RVU?

The best part about being a professor at any institution is getting to work with medical students. They are exceptionally bright and hard-working and I have found it very fulfilling to help them learn complex concepts they need to be good physicians in the future.

What has been one of your most rewarding teaching experiences at RVU and why?

I really enjoy working with students who struggle with the curriculum and helping them turn things around and become successful.

What advice do you have for your students struggling with their coursework?

It’s very difficult for many students not to get bogged down in the extensive curricula of medical school. I’d like to reassure any students that are struggling that they aren’t alone in their challenges and encourage them to reach out to faculty, tutors, and peers for help. Remember that med school doesn’t last forever and your faculty/staff want to help you succeed!

Dr. An Dang, Assistant Professor of Clinical Anatomy

What motivated you to become a professor?

Through my love of neuroscience and how it relates to our human behavior, I became fascinated by the human mind and how it controls the body. I loved doing research and enjoyed the process of discovery to explore the unknowns in biomedical science. However, I really lacked the human connection working behind the microscope and instead enjoyed working with others and sharing my enthusiasm and passion with others in their goals to become healthcare professionals.

What is your favorite thing about being a professor at RVU?

I am always inspired by our students. Their creativity, compassion, and drive to become healthcare professionals and making a real difference in the community amazes me every day and keeps me hopeful for the future of our society.  

What has been one of your most rewarding teaching experiences at RVU and why?

My most rewarding experiences are when students have their “light bulb” moments in anatomy. Often times, students may need help understanding a concept, and then perfectly work through the steps to answer their own questions. This critical thinking and building of confidence in themselves are what we ultimately want all our students to achieve. Their problem-solving skills and ability to think through difficult scenarios will make them phenomenal future professionals.

What advice do you have for students struggling with their coursework?

Know that we are all your #1 advocate and everyone here at this institution is rooting for you to succeed. I love RVU because we are a community, and it is always important to look out for one another. As an educator, I am dedicated to making sure the students understand the foundations for the course, but more importantly want our students to continue to grow as young healthcare professionals. Do not forget why you started this journey in the first place and continue to thrive as compassionate individuals who want to make a difference and help those in need.

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