May 17, 2022 by
Janet L. Essman Franz
Jay Silveira, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry, received a 2022 UVM Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award.
Seeing a student's excitement at discovering how biology and chemistry work together at the molecular level; hearing students express that the scientific concepts they learned about in previous courses are suddenly more interesting when combined to explain cell function; witnessing young people realize their own passions for research: These are the aspects of teaching that Jay Silveira, Ph.D., enjoys the most, and the reasons for his students’ gratitude and colleagues' admiration.
Silveira, assistant professor of biochemistry, was selected to receive a 2022 UVM Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes faculty for excellent undergraduate instruction, innovation in teaching methods and ability to motivate and challenge students. Silveira teaches undergraduate courses in biochemistry fundamentals, explaining the molecular mechanisms behind how bodies function in both healthy and disease states. In addition, he serves as faculty advisor to the UVM Biochemistry Society undergraduate club.
"When I’m teaching our younger learners at the undergraduate level, I strive to get them excited about what they’re studying." Silveira said. "Biochemistry integrates concepts from a wide variety of the student’s core science courses, and it’s often the first chance our undergraduates get to see the numerous concepts from their foundational courses combined together in surprising ways to reveal how life works at the molecular level."
Silveira's nominator and colleague, Delphine Quenet, Ph.D., described how Silveira embraces the active learning concept and applies it to the curriculum, inviting students to participate in their learning. Quenet made special note of Silveira's eagerness to help students acquire the ability to think critically and follow the scientific method.
"By encouraging students' curiosity, Jay makes sure that they do not compartmentalize their knowledge and they are not afraid of biochemistry," wrote Quenet. "He is an inspiring educator, promoting science in and out of the class. At the end of the semester, the line of students expressing their gratitude is quite substantial, and the 'thank you' notes are numerous."
Silveira rose to the top of a highly competitive group of Assistant Professor candidates, said committee member Jason Garbarino, D.N.P., RN-BC, CNL, clinical associate professor and vice chair of the UVM nursing undergraduate program. While observing Silveira teach a class of more than 75 students, Garbarino noticed the students' rapt attention and desire to learn.
"The level of student enthusiasm and engagement was palpable in the classroom. Students arrived to class having completed worksheets of complex solutions, the most challenging of which were reviewed in class. It felt that the students wanted to work collectively to find solutions," Garbarino wrote in his review.
Silveira also teaches biochemistry courses for UVM medical and graduate students. His research expertise focuses on the activation of platelets at sites of vascular injury and the role that platelets play in hemostasis, in the context of clinical interventions aimed at maintaining hemostasis and ameliorating its pathological extension, thrombosis.
The Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Awards recognize faculty for excellent instruction, including creation of an environment conducive to learning. The awards memorialize Robert H. and Ruth M. Kroepsch and Ruth's parents, Walter C. and Mary L. Maurice, all four of whom were teachers. Robert H. Kroepsch served as Registrar and Dean of Administration at UVM from 1946-1956. Ruth graduated from UVM in 1938 and her father, Walter Maurice, graduated from UVM in 1909.