By Rob Mitchum
Photo by Jason Smith

Erin Mowers may have helped teach many courses, but never before had she taught her students how to podcast. As part of the “From Atomic Coordinates to Protein Function” course, taught by Wei-Jen Tang, professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research, students were asked to create a podcast episode explaining a scientific finding, and Mowers was in charge of teaching them the tools. Fortunately, the science communication experiment was a huge success.

“Part of our goal with the course was not just teaching the students information, but also how one needs to present information to colleagues and the general public,” says Mowers, a third-year Medical Scientist Training Program student in the Pritzker School of Medicine. “Making it accessible enough to convey all this information in a very short period of time really helped students think through the material and focus on the most important parts.”

Mowers, who is currently doing research on cancer genetics in the laboratory of Kevin White, the James and Karen Frank Family Professor in Human Genetics, says that her extensive teaching experience helps inform both sides of her MD/PhD pursuit.

“It really benefits me as a scientist, because in teaching you have to have a very strong grasp of the material, and I’ve found that teaching courses influences the questions I ask in the lab,” she says. “And teaching is one of the reasons I’m interested in medicine. Part of being a good physician is being able to explain complicated and complex diseases.”

Originally published on June 4, 2012.