Contact Us

UW Science Initiative

SIB Rm 2030

Department 4325, 1000 E. University

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4415


UW Top-Tier Science Initiative Logo

Learning Assistant Program

About the Program

The Learning Assistant Program supports undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students as learning assistants in large gateway science courses taught in active learning classrooms. Learning assistants receive a stipend and/or scholarship each semester and new students also enroll in a 1-unit graduate-level seminar introducing them to STEM pedagogy.




learning assistant talking to two students


learning assistant using the whiteboard to draw out a concept


"This has been one of my most important parts of my college career. Not only has it developed me into a better educator, it has developed me into a better student, effective communicator, and leader. I absolutely have loved this experience and would recommend it to all of those who want to pursue teaching and being a life long learner."

"I feel like I know how to speak as an educator and as an individual better to professors and students around me. I also find myself knowing so many students and engaging with them on campus. Which I think is great because campus engagement and success in university go together."

"It's been awesome. I have been able to develop my understanding and passions for teaching--which is an incredible opportunity. I have no regrets."

"My partnership with my LA was wonderful and helped further my creativity in forming active activities in the classroom. I enjoyed having the perspective of another LAMP trainee to bounce ideas off of and since my LA had some background education in the subject matter, they were also able to help come up with helpful videos and readings related to the materials for the course!"

"Having the near-peer model in class showed me how valuable active learning is in creating a safe environment for all students."

"My LA is very thoughtful about teaching and learning, and it has also been very useful to have a student partner to work on ideas with.  My LA provides an invaluable student perspective (I can ask how a student might view an activity or assignmnet), and is able to draw on recent and current experiences as a student in other classes."


Featured LAMP Learning Assistant


McKenna Hackett

Our featured LAMP Learning Assistant is McKenna Hackett. Kassandra Willingham writes of her LA:  

McKenna dedicated 5 semesters to
serving as a learning assistant for both General and Medical Microbiology. She played an instrumental
role in the development of both of these courses and I couldn’t have done it without her. She is an
extremely versatile, thoughtful, creative and dependable person and her students and I are lucky to
have worked with her.




How To Apply:

  • Faculty members who wish to have LAs in their course should contact LAMP Director Rachel Watson at and be ready to:

    • Demonstrate or explain how they have/will transform their class to be active-learning oriented.

    • Encourage students they think would be good LAs to apply to the program.



Learning Assistant Program FAQ


What kinds of students should apply? Do they need to have certain majors/minors?

  • Secondary Science Post-Baccalaureate students interested in gaining undergraduate mentoring experiences in active-based courses.

  • Undergraduates passionate about teaching and learning and furthering the education of their peers.

  • Students from all majors are welcome and encouraged to apply, especially if interested in mentoring or education.  

  • Most LA positions will be in STEM fields.

  • Students should not be discouraged if they feel they are not an "expert" yet.  LAs should be mostly comfortable with content but will naturally deepen their own understanding through mentoring and teaching experiences.


How is being an LA different than a TA and why would you want to do it?

  • A Learning Assistant, or LA, is a peer mentor in the classroom supporting active-based instruction, rather than a teaching assistant (TA) whom may, for example, grade, teach labs and/or lead discussion sections.

  • LAs facilitate group discussions in large active learning classrooms.  They are often viewed as less intimidating than TAs, supporting peer interactions and collaborations.

  • LAs may support course assessments, but focus on supporting teamwork and student understanding of the material.

  • LA responsibilities may vary depending on the course being supported; this is associated with differences in instructor teaching practices.


What is the approximate time commitment per week?

  • LAs must attend and participate in every class for the section assigned (~3 hours per week)

  • LAs must attend weekly preparation meetings with their faculty mentors (~1 hour per week)

  • New LAs must enroll in a 1-credit hour graduate-level seminar introducing LAs to STEM pedagogy (~1 hour per week)

  • LAs spend time providing student feedback and preparing for class activities. This time commitment varies based on student comfort and experience (~1-5 hours per week)

 The LA Manual Provides useful resources for all LAs.

For further questions or concerns, please contact LAMP Director Rachel Watson (


LAMP LAs Assist in SciComm - Bethann Merkle

Learn about the LA Program with LAMP Graduate Assistant Michelle Mason

Watch Michelle Mason's Thesis Defense

"Exploring the Impact of a Learning Assistant Program on LAs and Their Mentors: A Qualitative Case Study"


Contact Us

UW Science Initiative

SIB Rm 2030

Department 4325, 1000 E. University

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4415


UW Top-Tier Science Initiative Logo