The University of Wisconsin–Madison employs over 2,000 teaching assistants across a wide variety of disciplines. The contributions of TAs in the classroom, lab, studio and field are essential to the University’s education mission. In order to recognize excellence on the part of TAs across campus, each year the College of Letters & Science, with support from the Graduate School, administers awards for exceptional teaching by graduate students.
The College of Letters & Science is proud to share the winners for this year’s awards. They were joined by families, friends, colleagues, and the university administration at the award ceremony on February 7, 2017, 3:00-4:00 pm, at 911 Van Vleck Hall, pictured above. The full list of 2017 recipients available here.
Raed Al Kontar—Early Excellence in Teaching Award
Raed is a Ph.D. student in Industrial and Systems Engineering and M.S. student in Statistics. His research focuses on data analytics for uncertainty quantification and decision making in cloud-enabled smart service systems. His research seeks to make sense of data and utilize it for better decisions.
Al Kontar has taught as a teaching assistant for computer integrated manufacturing. He believes that learning should be fun and assisting student’s learning process is something he greatly enjoys. In his free time, Raed likes to play soccer and read about new advances in statistical methods.
Brooke Barnhart—Early Excellence in Teaching Award
Brooke is a second year M.A. student in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies. She received a B.S. in politics and government from Illinois State University. Her research interests are on the ethics of care and its relation to race, class, disability, and imperialism.
Barnhart has worked as a teaching assistant for Introduction to GWS, Women and Their Bodies in Health and Disease, and Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies. She loves working with students and helping them think critically about issues of gender, race, class, disability, sexuality, and their intersections.
Rebecca Moorman—Early Excellence in Teaching Award
Rebecca is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (CANES). She holds a B.A. in classics with a minor in philosophy from Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and an M.A. in classics from UW-Madison. Rebecca's research interests include late Republican and Imperial Latin literature, critical theory, gender and sexuality, and Roman historiography.
Moorman has taught several courses in the CANES department, including Elementary Latin, Classical Mythology, and the Greeks. She enjoys teaching students both to appreciate ancient texts in their original context and to make meaningful connections between antiquity and our modern world.
Chloe Drummond—Exceptional Service Award
Chloe is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Botany. Her dissertation focuses on North American plants that split geographic distribution between western North America and the Great Lakes region. She is taking an integrative approach to investigate the historical biogeography of these plants, and is also interested in their potential persistence in the Great Lakes region given recent rapid climate change.
Drummond has been a teaching assistant in Plant Systematics, Vascular Flora of Wisconsin, Evolutionary Biology, and introductory botany courses. She has served as chair of education outreach for the Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution at UW-Madison for three years. Through this work, she facilitates K-12 teacher workshops across Wisconsin and co-organizes Darwin Day, a public outreach event. She is a plant science mentor through the Planting Science program, and is pursuing her Delta teaching certificate to improve student learning in the undergraduate classroom.
Brandee Easter—Innovation in Teaching Award
Brandee is a Ph.D. student in composition and rhetoric in the Department of English. Her research focuses on gender and digital rhetoric, and her most recent project explores the rhetorical strategies of an antifeminist programming language.
In teaching literature and composition courses, Easter is invested in exploring the pedagogical affordances of digital technologies. She focuses her writing courses on multimodal composition and had the opportunity to pilot the English department's first online large lecture course last summer.
Lauren Goodspeed—Innovation in Teaching Award
Lauren is a Ph.D. candidate in the Second Language Acquisition program. Her research is on second language writing in the instructed setting, focusing on the interplay of reading and writing in genre-based pedagogical approaches.
Since 2011, Goodspeed has taught beginning and intermediate French in the Department of French and Italian and has also taught French in Continuing Studies. She has also held positions within the Continuing Studies that have allowed her to reflect on language study at a curricular level. She is a strong advocate for literacy-based teaching approaches due to their ability to integrate language instruction with literary and cultural content, as well as their ability to equip learners with skills they need to navigate an ever-evolving multilingual, multicultural society.
Rachel Herzl-Betz—Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award
Rachel is a Ph.D. candidate in the English department. Her research interests are in Victorian literature, disability studies, and writing center pedagogy. Her dissertation examines how cutting-edge forms of technology were used to represent sensory perception by disabled characters.
Currently, Herzl-Betz is an Assistant Director of the undergraduate Writing Fellows program, where she has taught English 403, the honors seminar on tutoring writing across the curriculum, and mentored more than one-hundred undergraduates. Before joining the Fellows program, she taught composition and literature courses, including British and Anglophone Literature from 1750 to the Present, The Early Works of Shakespeare, and Introduction to College Composition. She spent two years teaching and designing curriculum with the Pre–College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence (PEOPLE).
Taylor Miller—Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award
Taylor is a Ph.D. candidate in media and cultural studies in the Department of Communication Arts. His dissertation explores television syndication, highlighting its queer and feminist potential, and includes collaborations with TV icons like Norman Lear, Roseanne Barr, and Louise Lasser.
While at UW-Madison, Miller has taught numerous courses including Digital Media Production, Introduction to TV, Critical Internet Studies, and Television Criticism. He produced a short film on homosexuality in 1950s TV that premiered at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. And he recently accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Georgia where he will also work with the Peabody Awards.
Alison Paulson—Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award
Alison is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Botany. Her dissertation research explores fire suppression, climate change, white-tailed deer herbivory, and land use/landscape change as drivers of plant species diversity and community composition in the Great Lakes Region.
Paulson has taught laboratory and discussion sections in General Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Introductory Biology at UW-Madison. Through teaching, outreach, and mentorship, Alison seeks to create a comfortable yet challenging learning environment, to foster connections between students and the land, and to help students prepare for their future careers.
Jillian Slaight—Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award
Jillian is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, where she focuses on eighteenth-century Europe, as well as gender and women’s history. Her dissertation examines the crime of seduction to understand whether, and how, men and women exercised control over decisions about marriage and sexuality on the eve of the French Revolution.
Since 2011, Slaight has served as a teaching assistant for various courses in European and Atlantic World history. This semester, she is lecturing a self-designed course entitled “Pirates, Nuns, and Refugees: Europeans on the Move in the Early Modern Period (1450-1815).” She also looks forward to co-teaching “History of Labor & Capitalism,” a class at Oakhill Correctional Institution.
Guiming Zhang—Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award
Guiming a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography, focusing on Geographic Information Science (GIS). His research focuses on spatial modeling and prediction using geospatial big data and the enabling high-performance computing technologies. He is very interested in the impacts of geospatial big data on society.
Zhang has been a teaching assistant for GIScience courses at both introductory and advanced levels. He taught an introductory course as a lecturer in 2015. Currently, he is the lecturer for a course for the Online Professional Master’s program in GIScience and web map programming.
Read more about all of the TA award recipients here: UW-Madison Graduate School.