Teaching with Aspiration

Dr. Li is the first foreign professor in the department of agricultural education and communications. She conducts her own research and teaches scientific communication.

he move from China was great, but the opportunity at Texas Tech University was greater. Dr. Nan Li, assistant professor for the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, started her teaching and strategic communications research at Texas Tech three years ago. Her research is centered on the study of science, policy, and the public within the realm of agriculture. She is interested in a close focus on valued tendencies and shaping an individual’s thought process of scientific information.

Li’s strong devotion to improving students writing skills is reflected in many aspects of her research. Expanding her knowledge of agriculture to her students at Texas Tech was not an easy feat due to the language barrier, social differences, and the culture shock you experience when making such a significant decision such as moving to the US.

“From an outsider’s perspective and using my experiences as someone who used to struggle with writing and communicating, teaching the students is helpful for them,” Li said.

When I look into my culture and I compare that to what happened here, I want to bring those experiences here and expand their scope.

Along with teaching, Li works closely with graduate student Kimberly Cantrell. The two are collaborating on a research project on the effects of how people perceive food labels and products. Most importantly, specific characteristics of food labels such as colors, terminology, and images. They will interpret their data by the public’s attitudes, perceptions, and purchasing tendencies.

After renovations to the agricultural education and communications building, assistant professor of agricultural communications, Dr. Li, moved into her new office.

Working with Li has made Cantrell realize how there is a lack of communication within the food industry. Cantrell has the opportunity enhance her advocacy through her research with Li.

“With her having not the strongest ag background, it has made me a better advocate,” Cantrell said. “Explaining certain practice topics and issues with her has made me develop a better understanding and has developed both of our knowledge.”

Li possesses an outstanding ability to communicate to students through her past experiences. Li’s students learn from her opportunities and are able to excel outside of her classroom.