Inspiring Biology Professor at Clarion University, Dr. Dias

Being a Science major entitles you to take many courses, some Biology, some Chemistry and some Math. Some people don’t look forward for these but most look forward to Genetics and Cell Biology, all because of the amazing professor that teaches these courses.

Dr. Natasha Dias is originally from Goa, India. She received her Bachelors in Microbiology at Pune University in India, her Masters in Biotechnology at Bangalore University in India, and most recently, earned her Ph.D. in Biology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her biggest achievement was her Ph.D. She was proud of how hard she worked during those six years of schooling. While being at Duquesne she received many awards including the Student Research Fellowship, the Outstanding Graduate Student Award, and multiple teaching awards. 

Dr. Dias originally didn’t want to become a teacher since some of her family members, including her mother, were teachers. But that changed when she became a teacher's aid while working on her doctoral degree. She was teaching biology recitation and labs to undergraduates and instantly knew that she enjoyed teaching and wanted to become a professor. She jokingly said, “It must run in my genes!” The thing she enjoys most about being a professor is being there for her students. “When I can see my students want to be in the classroom and learn more, it makes me want to be there for them and teach them more”.

Being so far away from where she grew up has its challenges.  Her first 2 years in the states were hard. She was very busy working towards her Ph.D. when she got used to being in the states. She started enjoying the American lifestyle and having her own freedom and independence. In India, she had no car, nor freedom since there, you do as your parents say. The Culture is so different in India than it is here in the States. She started to like the culture here and has for the last eight years that she has lived in the United States. She misses is her mother in India, especially since she is alone and the rest of her family doesn’t live here.

She also faced challenges like most students in college. A big struggle for her was applying things she learned to her research and course work. In India, she was taught to memorize things. Her professors at Duquesne were more than willing to help her, so she met with them and they taught her how to apply what she knew, which is what she tries to do with her students. Having her professors do that for her made her want to do the same for her students.

She has been teaching at Clarion University for two years. She loves the country side, she loves how peaceful and beautiful it is. She loves going to Cook’s Forest and fishing, swimming, kayaking and boating in the Clarion river. If she isn’t teaching, she is most likely in her office grading and helping students.

The best advice she has given is apply yourself and apply what you learn, not just memorize. Your life beyond college no matter what major or career path, you’re always going to face situations or have case studies where you must think and apply what you know.

With Dr. Dias being so young, it’s no wonder why students connect with her as much as they do. She truly knows what students go through and understands the challenges college can throw at you. There is one thing people can tell just by watching her interact with her students, that she genuinely cares about how they are doing and wants to see them succeed; not only in her classes but in their lives and careers. You can always count on her to give the best advice she can to her students, who voice their concern; not only about the courses they are taking from her but anything that is going on in their lives. She will stay as late as she can to make sure a student understands a topic. Whether it be during her office hours, or after her classes are all done for the day, she will stay with you to explain everything until you no longer have doubts. She inspires me and believes in me more than I do, I truly look up to her and think of her as my mentor. Without her, I wouldn’t have learned the value in applying what I learn. She has taught me how to be a better student.