Jennifer Hollander, teaching associate professor in biology, was awarded the Nevada Regents' Teaching Award for 2019. She has been a faculty member for 12 years at the University of Nevada, Reno and she is the 14th faculty member to be awarded this honor at the University, the first from the department of biology.
The Nevada Regents' Teaching Award is given annually to one full-time faculty member in the Nevada System of Higher Education with an exceptional teaching record. The award winner is selected based on written nominations by faculty and students and the faculty member's teaching success and receives a medal and a check for $5,000.
Hollander received her bachelor's degree in human biology at the University of Utah, her master's degree in biology at the University of Nevada, Reno and her doctoral degree in ecology, evolution and conservation biology at the University of Nevada, Reno. She now teaches anatomy, physiology, advanced human dissection, and co-teaches desert and montane ecosystems.
Hollander started as a pre-med biology major at the University of Utah and worked at a hospital during undergrad, with the full intention of continuing on in the healthcare field. During undergrad, she started teaching at the University of Utah as a teaching assistant for anatomy and realized she was more passionate about teaching rather than continuing on to medical school. Soon after she received her doctoral degree, she became a member of the department of biology and has been positively impacting the University ever since.
Hollander has a passion for teaching and working with students. One way she engages students is by relating the course material to experiences in both the workforce and everyday life.
"I let the students know how important the information is that I'm teaching by trying to use examples of situations they may face in the future where the information is going to be valuable in their lives," said Hollander. "Even if it is just to understand a future medical diagnosis for themselves or a loved one."
Hollander also makes a point to stay in touch with her students after they graduate and receives positive feedback about the examples she provided in class that have helped them in their careers.
"My job is more than just giving students grades, my job is to really make sure they understand how the human body works," she said. "What teaching means to me is that I'm having a huge impact and really trying to make sure that our future medical and dental students start their programs with a really good base understanding of human physiology."
Hollander teaches a human cadaver dissecting course and oversees the human cadaver dissection team within the class. According to Hollander, the human cadaver dissection team is rare within undergraduate colleges nationwide as the dissection process of cadavers are becoming increasingly regulated.
The team is able to dissect both human and cat cadaver structures, allowing for students to have a hands-on learning experience. The anatomy lab is also open for the public for NevadaBound and high school students to tour the lab.
Hollander also co-teaches the desert and montane ecosystem course, where students learn about flora and fauna of the desert and take a five-day camping trip to the desert to research.
Outside of the classroom, Hollander enjoys spending time with her two daughters, hiking with her dogs, camping, and skiing.