Instructor, College of Online Education

“A classroom that can reach all over the world”

Dr. Nidhi Ahuja grew up in Delhi, India’s capital city, where her parents continue to live. She came to the United States for her postdoctoral studies, conducting research at University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ahuja has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, a master’s in biotechnology and a doctorate in biotechnology.

Her research interests lie at the interface of invading pathogenic bacteria and the susceptible human hosts. After completing her post-doctorate in microbiology and immunology at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Ahuja dedicated herself to sharing what she had learned with others.

As much as she enjoyed her research work, she felt she was lacking in some connection and ability to share knowledge in a more accessible way.

“I quickly realized that when you do research on a bench, when you do that work, you publish that work, mainly it is those researchers and faculty who are in your field who will be, you know, reading your research and the work you are doing,” said Dr. Ahuja. “But when I started teaching, I realized quickly that this was far more meaningful to me because I was able to share all that I had invested all these years with others. So, I touch more lives this way and I am able to share in a positive way.”

She notes that she loves working with students from all walks of life, whether they are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s or if they are on the East Coast taking an online class with her. Online education has expanded her potential classroom exponentially, to include students from other states and even other countries.

Life University’s (Life U) growing online education platform intrigued Dr. Ahuja when she made the transition from ground teaching to the online format. Life U had an opening for a microbiologist, so Dr. Ahuja filled that need quite nicely. She currently teaches Microbiology and Parasitology. Interestingly, Parasitology is lecture only, but Microbiology includes lab and lecture-based instruction. But that begs the question, how are labs administered in a remote format?

There are a few different ways to go about it, whether it means requiring students to purchase certain equipment to use on their own or enacting Life U’s current method of having students access a simulated lab platform. Students run full experiments in a simulation, test tubes and all. Students record data and learn in a very similar manner to in-person labs.

Overall, Dr. Ahuju enjoys “the enthusiastic response” of her students, and that propels her forward. She loves to review her evaluations and see when students are happy with the work and passion she invests in them, especially when students make a point to take additional courses with her.

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