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One of my primary learning goals in any course that I teach is for students to confront and explore their own biases and become exposed to points of view and life experiences that are different from their own.

Sarah Saint Hamilton, PhD, MSW

Clinical Assistant Professor

My favorite part of teaching is my students. I love getting to know about their passions, their goals, their unique experiences and backgrounds that brought them to my classroom. To me, teaching feels like a long conversation that we get to have across the course of a semester.

Human development has always been fascinating to me because it is an ongoing process that is never finished. I have found tremendous joy and satisfaction in teaching for similar reasons; I will never be finished working on any of the courses that I teach. I will always be improving my courses based on student feedback, updating content as new research and events alter our understanding, adding new points of view and connections to other disciplines, and so on. 

Teaching is a dynamic process that allows me the flexibility to appreciate and adapt to the unique set of students that join my classes each semester. I am always learning and growing as an instructor, which is very rewarding for me, and currently my time is fully devoted to instruction, outreach, and service. My most recent area of research has been on the role of nutrition in visual and cognitive development.

One of my favorite parts of learning and teaching about lifespan development and health is the fact that it is so interdisciplinary and relevant to everyone. We are all human beings who want to be happy, healthy, and have agency over our lives as we age. It is the ultimate source of common ground with which to begin discussions, and the tremendous variability and diversity of our life experiences within those shared realities ensures that no two discussions will ever be the same. Whether it is in a classroom setting or community partnerships, I love getting to work with people from all different backgrounds to think about these ideas and brainstorm new ways to improve the quality of life and longevity for all people in our community.

Ultimately, I hope my courses inspire curiosity and wonder about human development that extends past the last day of class. I structure my courses so that the utility and personal-relevance of the topics we cover are clear, and the skills required to continue learning and answering questions that come up across the lifespan are practiced and mastered. With each new class of students I get to start a new conversation and see the concepts and ideas that we talk about in class from a new perspective.

I am honored to have been chosen for the 2020-2021 cohort of the UGA Service-Learning Fellows program and am excited to develop a service-learning course to add to our offerings at the Institute of Gerontology. I have participated in other teaching-related fellowships in the past (e.g., the Diversity and Inclusion Graduate (DIG) Fellowship and the Future Faculty Fellows Program) that have helped me to grow and improve immensely as an educator. I was also awarded the Charles L. Darby Excellence in Teaching Award by the Department of Psychology in 2016 and 2017.

Learn more about Sarah Saint Hamilton