Online Prerequisites Faculty Profile: Oksana Berezovska
Appreciating Chemistry in the Real World
Dr. Oksana Berezovska is a neuroscientist, and chemistry is an intrinsic part of her professional world. This explains why she is the course author and has taught all of the following online prerequisites: Introduction to Chemistry for the Health Sciences, General Chemistry 1 & 2, and Biochemistry.
“My goal is to make students understand the scientific concepts behind chemistry, not just memorize formulas. I want students to learn to appreciate chemistry in the real world,” she says.
She points to the Periodic Table, as an example. “If students understand the organization of all the elements, how they exist in nature, and their chemical and physical properties, then they can start to link chemistry to all of the tracts in health care – and chemistry becomes fun.”
Even though Dr. Berezovska uses the word “fun” to describe chemistry, she is not relaxed about learning standards. She admires online learners for the self-discipline required to organize time for class structures and schedules. She even acknowledges that many students in the Institute’s Prerequisites for the Health Professions program are studying to change careers from a different field, which requires a lot of effort.
“I understand special circumstances and am flexible,” Dr. Berezovska says. “However, I will not lower the standards. My classes are not an easy pass. I want students who learn from me to be knowledgeable.”
Through online discussion boards, Dr. Berezovska fields many questions to help nurture students' basic curiosity. She says, however, the discussions are educational for her as well.
“They all bring something new to the table, and I’m still learning with them,” she notes. “I’m a scientist and always learning.”