2020-21 Grad Student Award Nominees

The purpose of the Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching 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. 

We are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2020-21 academic year. Nominees are listed by school.

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Brandon Hoenig, Biological Sciences

Brandon's teaching philosophy is focused on teaching science simply; He sincerely travels alongside students in their learning, bringing his own experience as a first generation student. Not only does Brandon have a dynamic teaching style and presence but he has also contributed to his department through his development of the R program, which will continue to be implemented as part of the departmental courses even after he graduates.
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Narthana Jeganathar Kanmanii, Biological Sciences

Narthana is a dedicated teacher who provides a strong but kind presence in the classroom environment. She arrives incredibly prepared for each class meeting. Faculty and TAs remarked that they have learned and grown in their own teaching from Narthana's example. She engages and changenges students in their learning and has also learned to adapt to students' needs from her own experiences as an international student.
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee

School of Pharmacy

Kandarp Dave, Pharmacy

One of the cornerstones of Kandarp's philosophy of teaching is to make sure that he is available and accessible to his students and to support their development as future pharmacists. He is a highly engaged and well-prepared teacher who encourages students to think as future pharmacists. Of note, is his leading of a demanding equipment-based course which required extra training and adaptability to diverse student perspectives.
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee

School of Pharmacy

Manisha Chandwani, Pharmacy

Manisha meets students where they are and gets them to where they need to be by providing the tools for long-term learning and by being a partner in their learning. She has also participated in research that contributes to the scholarship of teaching. Manisha's dossier demonstrated a genuine passion for teaching and supporting students in their journey to becoming professionals in pharmacy practice and research.
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Zachary Slanger, Philosophy

It is a huge accomplishment to inspire and influence one's students but it's quite another to influence your own teachers and departmental policies. Zach has accomplished both in innovative teaching assignments that encourage and spark creativity in his students and also in his contributions to the Philosophy department. Zach's teaching philosophy rests on a student-centered model that encourages engagement and reflection from students and is supported by Zach's continued reflections on his teaching.
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Aaron Higgins-Brake, Philosophy

Aaron's teaching is focused on encouraging student engagement, clarifying difficult philosophical concepts, and creating an open and comfortable classroom atmosphere. Another strength he brings to his classroom is the ability to create a safe space on discussions of gender.
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Basak Guven, Communication and Rhetorical Studies

Basak uses a combination of theoretical and applied instruction by integrating current events and examples from her own lived experience in her home county of Turkey in her teaching. Her natural "pedagogical empathy" is evident in every aspect of her teaching. She has further contributed to her department by supporting future international teaching assistants through mentoring and in their teaching presentation assessments.
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Benjamin Gaddes, Clinical Psychology

Ben is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher who involves the local community into his teaching. Others who have observed his teaching note how his dynamic teaching style stays with his students beyond the course. His groundbreaking course, Empathy in the Digital Age, won the Rangos prize.
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Bethany Kaser, English

Bethany has a creative approach to her teaching assignments that stimulates her students learning and helps transfer skills beyond the classroom. She has a whole student approach and utilizes techniques like scaffolding and helps students connect to their learning over the long term
  Photo of Graduate Student Nominee