Paradise Valley

For the Love of Science: Q&A with PVCC Biology Professor, Dr. Tatjana Thomas

For the Love of Science: Q&A with PVCC Biology Professor, Dr. Tatjana Thomas

Dr. Tatjana Thomas began her college education at Glendale Community College. She then transferred to ASU and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology with a minor in English. Dr. Thomas moved to Baltimore and performed cancer research at Johns Hopkins University, where she ultimately received her Doctor of Philosophy degree. She then moved back to sunny Arizona. She has taught Biology as an Adjunct Faculty Member at PVCC since 2011 and now as a Residential Faculty Member since 2016.

How did you become interested in Science? I took an anatomy class in high school and discovered that I love to learn how things work, especially the human body. I won the Senior Science award in Biology which inspired me to want to learn more. I love science and always knew that I wanted to teach.

Who have been your main influencers? Numerous teachers and professors have guided and mentored me. I received an excellent education at every level. Seeing all the things professors do behind the scenes really inspired me.

How did you decide to go to GCC? I decided to attend Glendale Community College because of its proximity to my home and I started college at the age of 16. I am a big proponent of the community college experience.

What advice do you like to give students? I highly encourage students to get involved in their areas of study before they complete their degree. For example, an internship helps to determine if you really like what you think you like to do. It helps you make connections early. And, gaining experience helps to build your resume.

How do you help students who struggle with Biology/Sciences? I’m available during office hours to help students one-on-one. I also think it’s important to set the expectation from the first lecture of the time commitment that is needed for the class.

As a woman in the STEAM field, how do you encourage young women? I do outreach and lead by example. I have done presentations to elementary school students on ants, bacteria and viruses. In addition, I participate in PVCC’s annual Career Exploration Days which hosts hundreds of middle school students and I also talk to high school students about the value of community college. I like to explain to students how the different fields of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) interact. For instance, if you are interested in Art, you could be a Science Illustrator.

What do you like best about PVCC? I think the students, faculty and staff at PVCC are great! The faculty and staff are passionate and focused on students and very good at what they do.