2015-2016 Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching

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. This year, seven nominees submitted complete dossier's, fulfilling the requirements for the award. Each of these nominees is recognized for his or her accomplishments below.

For more information on the Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching,
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Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Neil Lax, Biological Science

Neil has the capacity to encourage and engage his students while teaching a wide range of subjects within his field. His commitment to his students is matched by his willingness to help and support his peers.

Nina Reger, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Nina's organization, passion, and enthusiasm create a positive and rigorous learning environment. She posses an outstanding ability to tailor assessments to meet individual student needs.

Matthew N. Srnec, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Matt is an innovative instructor who is committed to collaboration and making his teaching accessible to all. His instructional materials offer students models for problem solving that improve learning.

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Lisa Nichols Hickman, Theology


Encourages her students to connect to different cultures, perspectives, and ideas by providing creative experiences in and out of the classroom setting. Lisa is able to connect her background as a pastor and her education to create a welcoming learning environment.

Cheryl A. Read, English

Cheryl incorporates art and media into conversation with literature in order to engage students in a variety of ways. Her use of student feedback and personal reflection demonstrate her commitment to continued growth as an instructor.

Elizabeth Samson, Psychology

Creates and communicates clear goals and objectives to her students while maintaining an empathic and supportive environment. She works to create a classroom that is a "safe space" as well as a fruitful learning community.

Sara Tavela, English

Sara incorporates student interests into course curriculum to meet students where they are in their learning. Her use of humor and performance contribute to her and her students enthusiasm for the discipline.

Mylan School of Pharmacy

Khushbu Shah, Medicinal Chemistry


Challenges her students to develop critical thinking skills while offering the tools and guidance they need to succeed. Khushbu always seeks new, creative opportunities to grow both as an instructor and leader in her field.