Meet Our Talent

Meet Amber Willems-Jones

Recently awarded the 2023 David White Award for Teaching Excellence – one of the University’s most prestigious teaching awards – Amber says the greatest reward from teaching is knowing that she can make a difference in a student’s life.

It might a simple thing – like helping them realise their passion for science. But by far, my best moments with students are when they have the 'penny drop' moment…and realise they know more than they thought they did.

After completing her PhD in 2004 in the then Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne, Amber worked as a molecular biologist research fellow with the familial breast cancer consortium, kConFab, at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Taking up an opportunity as a Senior Tutor in the Department of Biochemistry & Pharmacology, Amber later returned to the University and is now a Teaching Specialist and Senior Lecturer for the second year practical subject Techniques in Molecular Science - a 12-week wet-laboratory-based subject offered to both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedicine students.

It’s in this role and through her research interests in teaching and learning that have gained her recognition – winning the MDHS Faculty Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching last year and now the David White Award for Teaching Excellence in 2023.

To be recognised by my peers at the University level for the passion I bring to my role is a wonderful achievement –  it’s an honour beyond my expectations.

Amber is active in promoting learning tools that increase scientific communications skills and academic literacy of all students across the School of Biomedical Sciences. She has recently published a peer-reviewed conference paper with a team of colleagues looking at insights from students and staff who are using an Assessment Literacy Module to develop academic judgement.

I am interested in developing inquiry-based learning tasks designed to improve student understanding as well as promoting the importance of self-regulated learning processes and strategies.

When giving advice to students, Amber says she tries to steer them away from feelings of self-doubt and have more confidence in their abilities:

Believe in yourself and have confidence in the knowledge you possess....you know more than you think you do.

Dr. Amber Willems-Jones
Senior Lecturer / Teaching Focused Academic
Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology

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