professor
Mariam Aly

Apr 2021

I learn better when I am not under enormous pressure. The professor is responsive and really nice, particularly in light of the pandemic. Thank you Dr. Aly for everything you do.

May 2020

I absolutely adored her class and found her to be incredibly knowledgeable and kind. Although she can be a little soft spoken, she makes lectures very easy to follow and provides you with the exact information you need to know. She makes office hours very open and warm and I highly recommend going if you need help or just wanna get to know more about her research or opportunities in the department. The first exam was really easy, and is really similar to the practice exam she gives. I didn’t have her other exams because of the pandemic, and instead we had exam assignments. These assignments would have us apply the knowledge provided to us in lecture podcasts, and actually really helped me solidify my understanding of the material. The average for the course was an A-, and even outside of the pandemic her percentage of A’s is really high. That being said you should still focus on starting your studying early for exams because she covers A LOT of material and terms that you have to know. Overall highly recommend her and this course.

Jan 2019

Mariam was an excellent professor. She's the kind of professor you reflect on at the end of the semester (after your paper is done, that is!) and marvel at how attentive, direct, stimulating, and nice she was. The readings for the class were great. There's a steep learning curve but nothing unmanageable. You have enormous latitude in deciding what your paper is about. Mariam is clearly immersed and in love with her field and is mroe than happy to answer any questions you have, academic or professional. Assignments are returned within hours, usually less. I know, amazing isn't it? And her rubrics are followed to a t: you'll never be unclear about why she took points off, and so can adjust your next piece accordingly. Overall, great class for someone looking for exposure to primary source scientific literature on memory (behavioral and biological).

Aug 2018

Take this class only if you like to seat in an EMPTY (for once lol) Schermerhorn 501 lecture. No difficulty in finding seats! HOORAY! The class's enrolment is about 100 students, but only about say 50 students attend lectures after the first few weeks. Why? To put it simply, some find that she delivers her lectures with little enthusiasm. What's more, she barely adds on to her slides as she tends to read off from her slides (which are posted before lectures, props to Aly for doing something right) at a bullet train speed. I found taking Aly's class really frustrating as she almost always ends her class about 10 to 15 minutes - why not use the time to go at a slower rate/expound on the material a little more?? There were 3 exams (2 midterms: 25% each & final: 50%), each comprising of multiple choice, fill-in and short answer questions. The multiple choice & short answer questions are more application type of questions while the fill-ins were plugging in bolded keywords from her slides. You really have to put in the effort to study for the exams, given that there's a shit ton of new information/keywords in each lecture. The 1st midterm was bombed by the class - average was a 78% & median was a 81% iirc. Aly insisted that she will not curve the test given that a few scored 97; she will only curve if the top score is say a 90. The 2nd midterm was slightly better - median was ~83%ish. Before the final, she miraculously decided to give hints during the review lecture about what the short answer questions were going to be on. She said she was going to curve the final grade (by adding X% to everyone's final grade such that the top score was a 100%). Guessing the complains about the grading from those pre-meds got to her? Ultimately, she gave a 6% curve on the final grade (3% to curve the top score to a 100% & 3% because she felt nice).

May 2018

Prof. Aly is awesome! I say that for a few reasons. First, you can tell that she really cares about people actually doing well in the class and engaging with the material. She loves questions during lecture (even if she sometimes can't answer ones from outside her specialty. Can't fault her for that at all). She reserves a class before each test for a review session guided by discussion board questions (she will NOT just do an overview - you must ask questions. The more you engage, the more you get out). Second, she's actually a very nice person outside of class. I went to office hours a few times to discuss the Honors program in the Psych department and her lab's work. She loved to discuss it, and it's really quite interesting. This was her first semester teaching the class and I have to say "Congrats!" because she excelled with the material she was teaching for the first time. Especially in the memory lectures (what her research focuses on), she gives good explanations of the concepts presented in class. I know this isn't really of consequence but I'll say it anyways. I think Prof. Aly is kinda quirky, and I really liked it about her. She just has this focused, busy scientist vibe about her that's really endearing. The class is curved (difference between highest overall grade and 100% is added to everyone's score at the end of the course). Research participation can earn you up to 3 full points of extra credit. Seems beyond fair to me. Vis-à-vis the content of the course: it's not really up to her, because the department sets the priorities for the intro classes. This is NOT an easy science requirement by any means. But it is required for N&B majors and fulfills a req for psych majors as well. I know as a psych major I'm biased, but this class seemed pretty worthwhile, even if it is mostly memorization. Once you get about halfway through the semester there are more conceptual connections you can make (e.g., lateral areas are usually geared towards external motivation and action). That doesn't mean it gets easier; the material just becomes more easily integrated with what you've already learned. Tl;dr: Mariam Aly rocks, don't take this class just to fulfill a Core req, do start studying long before the tests actually happen.