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Laura CatanoAssociate Teaching Professor


  • B.S., Canisus College, 2000
  • Ph.D., Florida International University, 2014 

Teaching Philosophy 

My guiding teaching philosophy is that true mastery is achieved through experience and discovery. I believe my role as an educator is to guide and empower students, giving them the confidence to solve new problems. Understanding comes not from memorization, but from experience. We can be more effective educators when we involve students in their own learning process, allowing them to construct their own understanding instead of having them learn passively from an instructor.

I implement my philosophy in the classroom by creating an environment where students are learning science by doing science. I devote class time to having students use scientific practices (e.g., asking questions, building and evaluating models, proposing hypotheses, designing studies, analyzing data, and communicating findings). In doing so, it is my goal is that students will not only have a greater appreciation of core biological concepts but also develop the important skills of problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking that will enable them to be scientifically literate citizens and to be successful in their future course work and ultimately their careers.