Meet UNMC Outstanding Teacher awardee Pamela Carmines, Ph.D.

Pamela Carmines, Ph.D., professor and vice chairwoman for graduate education in the department of cellular and integrative physiology, is among the four UNMC faculty members who will receive Outstanding Teaching Awards at the April 26 Annual Faculty meeting.

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Pamela Carmines, Ph.D.
Below, Dr. Carmines reflects on what it means to be a teacher.

  • Name: Pamela Carmines, Ph.D.
  • Title: professor and vice chairwoman for graduate education, cellular and integrative physiology
  • Joined UNMC: 1993
  • Hometown: Poquoson, Va.

What are the greatest rewards of being a teacher?

It's most rewarding to see students and trainees advance to successful careers, especially those I've mentored in the research setting.

Describe a moment in your career when you realized you had picked the right occupation.

I chose to be a scientist -- not a teacher. ... Accepting my first tenure-track faculty position meant that I could run my own lab, but I also had to teach. Slowly, teaching became less of a burden and more of a love.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher?

The biggest challenge is lecturing to a group of students with widely different educational backgrounds. In that situation, it is virtually impossible to find a presentation level that engages all of the students in the class. Inevitably, some students will be overwhelmed by the material presented while others are bored because they've heard it all before.

How do you know when you've been successful as a teacher?

I encourage students who have difficulty with class material to come to my office for help. As I work with them ... eventually I see the "light bulb" turn on. In other situations, a student will pose insightful questions that demonstrate they really understand the material and are delving deeper into the topic. Both of these scenarios indicate success as a teacher.

List three things few people know about you.

  • I am an absolute space nut. My dad worked for NASA and I was glued to the television during all of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut but, in those days, only men could be astronauts.
  • While in high school, I earned four varsity letters in basketball. I also was the shortest player in the district.
  • I've had two holes-in-one in golf.


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Viswanathan Rajagopalan
September 30, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Congratulations, Dr. Carmines

Carol tunin
July 11, 2011 at 8:17 AM

You always were a great teacher even if being a scientist was your first love!

Lola Martin
April 25, 2011 at 9:34 AM