Finishing medical school wasn't enough for physician Robin Basu Roy, Ed.M.'08. In fact, his fascination with medicine, both scientifically and socially, and inspiring teachers from his own education led him to wanting to teach medicine in his career. The Special Studies Program allowed Basu Roy to pick courses not only at the Ed School, but also at Harvard's School of Public Health, Business School, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, providing an invaluable interdisciplinary experience.
"From the moment I met Robin I was greatly impressed. His passion for learning, his intellectual curiosity, and his sense of humanity set him apart. He assumed a central role, in his totally unassuming way, in guiding the intellectual engagements of the Special Studies cohort this year," says Special Studies Program Director John Collins. "Whether organizing trips to New York City to see the opera, announcing evening lectures and other events through the Special Studies Facebook group, or advising fellow students on course offerings, his genuine interest in all of us was felt and greatly appreciated."
Upon being honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for the Special Studies Program, Basu Roy answered some questions about his time at the Ed School and beyond.
Did you have a favorite class?
[Assistant Professor] Tina Grotzer's Applying Cognitive Science to Learning and Teaching for the exemplary way in which it was taught, and the passion and enthusiasm that the students, teaching fellows, and professor invested in the course. I was struck by the diversity and creativity in the projects, with target learners ranging from cardiology fellows, to kindergarteners, to children with autism, and generative topics including empowering indigenous teachers in the Philippines, religious tolerance, and rational numbers!
How did you stay inspired throughout the year?
Every single course I have taken this year is one that I have chosen because of its direct relevance to medicine and teaching of medicine. That, combined with the fact that the assignments can often be adapted to suit your interests, means it's much easier to keep up the enthusiasm levels. Not having to spend any evenings, weekends, or nights working in a hospital has also helped!
Any advice for next year's Special Studies students?
Make the most of both the Ed School and Harvard as a whole! It's definitely worth thinking about you're interested in and glancing at the course catalogues before you get here so you can sign up for the classes that most interest you. (Some schools start earlier than the Ed School so be forewarned if there's an amazing course in Fall Semester...)
What have you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career?
The notion of teaching for understanding, and really trying to get to grips with the challenges that learners face when you are developing teaching materials.
What's next for you?
Having completed two years of clinical practice before coming to the Ed School, I will be moving on to a six year pediatric specialty training post rotating through hospitals in North London starting in September 2008.