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2017-18 Grad Student Award Nominees

Award Nominees


The Office of the Provost confers a university-wide Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching at the annual spring Celebration of Teaching Excellence.

The purpose of the award is to promote and reward teaching effectiveness by current graduate students and to provide award nominees with training on how to present evidence of teaching excellence.


For more information on the Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching,
click here

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Ashley Blystone, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Ashley teaches laboratory courses and does an excellent job in actively engaging her students. She provides a motivating and thought-provoking learning environment and one of her strengths in the classroom is her humor and her approachability.

photo of ashely blystone

Jennifer Broderick, Biology

Jennifer creates a supportive yet disciplined environment in her classrooms. She is known for using innovative teaching strategies to help students learn. She is often invited to guest lecture using her creative teaching methods in the department.

Sara McClelland, Biological Sciences

Sara has been tirelessly dedicated to growing as a teacher-scholar. She has incredible enthusiasm for the topics she teaches and is also able to maintain the academic rigor needed. She works incredibly hard to prepare her lessons and make sure there are connections between what students are doing in the lab and how it is related to her lectures.

Joseph Sallmen, Biological Sciences

Joe has been instrumental in helping faculty turn introductory thinkers into competent independent researchers. He teaches demanding courses with enthusiasm and has a hands-on learning approach with his students.

Michelle Valkanas, Biological Sciences

Michelle is an extremely organized and well-prepared teacher. Her dedication to reflecting on her teaching and adapting her approach shows a genuine concern for student learning.

School of Pharmacy

Farhana Islam

Farhana is very dedicated to her role as instructor and works with students who are at-risk academically. She works with students to aid them in developing concepts and is approachable and concise in her lesson planning.

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Marla Anzalone, English

Marla creates an environment of respect and trust in her classes and encourages students to take ownership of their writing practice. She works hard to link course content to learning goals and to make the material relevant to student's lives.

Elizabeth Bennett, Clinical Psychology

Elizabeth is deeply invested in teaching and mentorship as evidenced in her approachability and her creation of a mentoring lab for undergraduate students which promotes research and career development. Additionally she is committed to her own development as a teacher-scholar in that she continually gathers feedback from students to learn how she can better meet their needs.

Josef DiPietrantonio, Mathematics and Computer Science

Josef creates a positive learning environment in his classes and strives to provide different opportunities for student learning. He contributes to his department in sharing his instructional materials with other teaching assistants as well as sharing updates on course progression with other faculty members.

Susan Mancino, Communication and Rhetorical Studies

Susan emphasizes civic engagement and students appreciate her respect of student diversity. Students appreciate the high quality of feedback that Susan provides as well as her clear and engaging lecture style.

Steven Perry, Theology

One of Steven's strengths is his ability to make the course content relevant to student's lives as well as getting students to be interested in the material. He is a passionate teacher and listens with respect to each of his students.

Josie Rush, English

Josie has an inter-contextual approach to teaching, encouraging her students to make connections across course content and even across other courses and disciplines. She validates student responses and creates a classroom environment in which every student is invited to participate.

photo of josie rush

Shawn Watkins, English

Shawn is sensitive to the various ways in which students learn and brings this concern to help develop student writers. In his poetry class, where students are often doubtful of their abilities, he is able to get students to actively engage and to allow for organic conversations as well as delivering technical course content.

photo of shawn watkins