2021-22 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 2021-22 academic year. Finalists are listed by school.

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Will King, Biological Sciences.

William King, Biological Sciences

William's dedication to his students' success goes hand-in-hand with his efforts to help first generation students feel "seen" and welcome in academia and the sciences. Part of his approach is to meet all students where they are by teaching biology as though he's teaching a new language--a method that successfully enculturates students into the field and helps all students to see themselves as scientists, no matter their background.

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Brianna Ports, Biological Sciences.

Brianna Ports, Biological Sciences

Brianna's teaching is characterized by an "engaged learning environment," where students meet their challenging, scientific content with a true hand in their own success. Brianna offers feedback on assignment drafts and uses Socratic questioning in order to really engage her students in the learning process. Her attention to detail and extensive preparation further create an environment where students are immersed in the content and have numerous opportunities to engage and succeed.

School of Pharmacy

Yashika Kamte, Pharmacy.

Yashika Kamte, Pharmacy

Yashika focuses on the long-term understanding of her students, especially through the use of real-world examples. Both Yashika's lessons and her concern for her students are appropriate and timely in our current world. She recognizes the complicated nature of the material she's tasked with instructing and meets this challenge with a variety of instructional methods that guide all of her students into understanding.

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Aaron Higgins-Brake, Philosophy.

Aaron Higgins-Brake, Philosophy

Aaron's ability to reach students no matter their program of study is a highlight of his teaching. He is able to recognize that most of his students are not bound for futures in philosophy, but he is able to help them think like philosophers in ways that are meaningful for their own development and transferable to every field of study. Aaron's work is further characterized by his genuine care for his students.

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Jennifer Hill, Communication and Rhetorical Studies.

Jennifer Hill, Communication and Rhetorical Studies

Jennifer's teaching is characterized by her emphasis on community outreach and real-world experience. Her students are offered unique opportunities to interact with the Pittsburgh professional community. In addition, Ms. Hill's dedication and care for her students is a hallmark of her teaching.

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Caitlyn Hunter, English.

Caitlyn Hunter, English

The hallmark of Caitlyn's teaching is her ability to address vital, yet difficult content in a respectful way that still encourages growth. Her creative and passionate approaches for tackling diversity, equity, and inclusion are enacting real change as she helps her students gain new perspectives.

McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Brad Landry, Psychology

Brad frames his classroom as a "space where students can authentically play with...new ideas, activities, and experiences" and his innovative lesson plans offer numerous opportunities for students to be creative and grow from both formative and summative assessments. Brad further weaves together foundational concepts in psychology to build his pedagogical approach in his teaching philosophy to offer students unique opportunities to grow as both students and people.