Campus-wide Teaching Assistant Awards Winners

Out of all the teachers I have ever had, [he] was among the most effective. He was able to communicate ideas extremely effectively. No time felt wasted in the discussion sections. His instruction was definitely a big part in my learning the material and excelling in the course.

—UW-Madison Undergraduate Student (2015)

2015-2016 Campus-wide TA Awards recipients

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 Graduate School, with funding support from the College of L&S, administers awards for exceptional teaching by graduate students. 

The Campus-wide TA Awards Committee is happy to announce that the winners for this year’s awards are as follows. They will be joined by families, friends, colleagues, and the university administration at the award ceremony on March 2, 2016, 3-4 PM, at 911 Van Vleck Hall.  

Early Excellence in Teaching Award

Di Fang, Mathematics
Aiday Sikhova, Economics
Di Wang, Sociology
Katie Ricks Yang, Neuroscience

Exceptional Service Award

Christopher Earle, English
Sara Mattavelli, French and Italian

Innovation in Teaching Award

Kathryn Anderson, Sociology
Nalan Erbil Erkan, Languages and Cultures of Asia
Abigail Jackson, Urban and Regional Planning
Rebecca Summer, Geography

Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award

Daniel Crow, Physics
Catherine DeRose, English
Adrienne Hagen, Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Christopher Janjigian, Mathematics
Clinton Packman, Philosophy

Christopher Earle—Exceptional Service Award

Chris is a Ph.D. candidate in Composition and Rhetoric in the English department. His research interests are in social movement rhetoric and rhetorical theory, focusing on issues of racism and mass incarceration. His dissertation examines the difficulties prisoners face in claiming public voice and how, in the face of such constraints, prisoners create solidarity and social worlds within prison spaces.

At UW-Madison, he has taught a range of writing and rhetoric courses, and has served as the Assistant Director of the English 201, Intermediate Composition program and of the Writing Center. For four years, he co-facilitated an African American studies course with the Writers in Prison Project at Oakhill Correctional Institution.

Sara Mattavelli—Exceptional Service Award

Sara is a Ph.D. candidate in the French and Italian program and a project assistant at the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development. Her research interests are in modern and contemporary Italian literature, cinema, feminist theory, and second language acquisition. Her dissertation analyzes different stages of Italian feminism in the literary, theatrical, and cinematic works of four Italian women authors (Maraini, Rame, Ferrante, and Marazzi).

Since 2010, Sara has taught Italian language and culture at UW-Madison and in the Madison community. Through numerous collaborations, and by taking leadership in the planning of special events for the Department of French and Italian, she has been able to share her native language and culture with many people both on and off campus. Sara regards these opportunities as very rewarding and enriching, and she is pleased to contribute to the educational mission of the university to “strengthen cultural understanding.”

Kathryn Anderson—Innovation in Teaching Award

Kathryn is pursuing two Ph.Ds, one in Sociology and one in the Environmental Studies program. In her dissertation research, Kathryn pulls ideas from her psychology B.A. (Wesleyan University) and her economics M.S. (UW-Madison). She investigates how different market institutions influence the identities, values, and meaning-making processes of organic dairy farmers, and how these worldviews, especially with respect to individualism and collectivism, interplay with material conditions to produce environmental stewardship practices.

Kathryn has taught statistics, sociology, and environmental studies classes, and an inter-disciplinary class on food systems and climate change. In the classroom, Kathryn emphasizes non-violent communication, critical thinking, and lifelong learning skills.

Nâlân Erbil Erkan—Innovation in Teaching Award

As a Ph.D. student in the Languages and Cultures of Asia program, Nâlân’s research areas include literary modernities; language, literature and human rights; visual studies and comparative literature.

Nâlân has been teaching Turkish at UW-Madison since 2011 and her current courses include Second and Fourth Semester Turkish. Nâlân has been developing proficiency-based materials focused on the ways students use language in real life. Actively engaged in language teaching and learning and the mentoring process from a social justice perspective, Nâlân thinks that critical language pedagogy has the potential to raise social consciousness and create transformation through challenging students’ expectations about other cultures as well as their own.

Nâlân is also a 2015-16 Future Faculty Partner at the UW-Madison’s Teaching Academy.

Abigail Jackson—Innovation in Teaching Award

Abigail Jackson is an Urban and Regional Planning master’s degree candidate, set to graduate this May. She specializes in strategies of economic redevelopment, and her professional project investigates the role of the planner in entrepreneurship and innovation in the city.

Abby has co-taught the Building Food Justice in South Madison Capstone Course in UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for three semesters. She uses the non-traditional teaching method of service-learning to engage students, the South Madison Farmers’ Market and the Nehemiah Center in a community-university partnership, which has formed over a multi-year process with the support of the 2015 Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.

Rebecca Summer—Innovation in Teaching Award

Rebecca Summer is a Ph.D. student in the Geography program. Her dissertation is about the history of alleys in American cities and what role they play in urban development, social life, and neighborhood change. She is a graduate affiliate in the Center for Culture History and Environment.

Over the past three years Rebecca has been a teaching assistant for American Environmental History, Introduction to Human Geography, and Introduction to the City. She founded and leads the Women in Geography undergraduate mentoring program.

Daniel Crow—Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award

Daniel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Physics program, focusing on quantum computation. His most recent research focuses on the theory and simulation of error correction procedures, while other projects have looked at quantum noise and the geometry of entangled states.

He has taught for six semesters during his time at UW-Madison at various levels, from Physics in the Arts to Intermediate Lab. Though not teaching currently, he still enjoys tutoring and covering his friends’ lectures.

Catherine Derose—Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award

Catherine is a Ph.D. candidate in the English program, where she works on nineteenth-century British literature. She has had the privilege to teach a variety of classes, including Introduction to Composition, British and Anglophone Literature from 1750 to the Present, Foundations of a Liberal Education, and a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Shakespeare. Being an instructor at UW-Madison was one of the most rewarding experiences of her graduate school career.

Catherine recently accepted a full-time position at Yale University’s Digital Humanities Lab.

Adrienne Hagen—Capstone Ph.D. in Teaching Award

Adrienne is a Ph.D. candidate in the Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies program. Her dissertation examines conceptions of nature in literature of the late Roman Republic. She is particularly interested in how people justify social and political actions by appealing to nature as a model.

Adrienne has taught Latin, Ancient Greek, Classical Mythology, and Roman Civilization, as well as a course on the arts and literature of early Western culture for the Integrated Liberal Studies Program. She is also an associate of the Nelson Institute’s Center for Culture, History and Environment (CHE).

Christopher Janjigian—Capstone Ph.D. in Teaching Award

Chris is a Ph.D. candidate in the Mathematics program studying probability theory. His research typically focuses on mathematical questions motivated by statistical physics.

Chris has taught discussion sections in first and second semester calculus as well as introductory analysis. He has been a TA coordinator for second semester calculus three times.

Clinton Packman—Capstone Ph.D. in Teaching Award

Clinton holds a B.A. in Philosophy from California State University, Long Beach and an M.A. in Philosophy from UW-Madison. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy. His dissertation seeks to understand the norms governing belief and their foundations.

He has taught courses in introductory ethics, contemporary moral issues, and introductory philosophy. He is currently teaching Ethics in Business.

Di Fang—Early Excellence in Teaching Award

Di Fang is a 2nd-year Ph.D. student in the Mathematics program. Her research areas include numerical and applied analysis of kinetic theory and quantum dynamics. She likes to depict the world in mathematics.

Di has been a TA for calculus since 2014. With great passion for teaching, she manages to relate math concepts to the real world in order to engage students during class. Her clear explanations and organization make calculus a fun class to take. She’ll continue conveying the joy of math to her students. As she always says, “math is fun!”

Aiday Sikhiova—Early Excellence in Teaching Award

Aiday is an international student from Kazakhstan. She completed her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University, where she double-majored in economics (honors) and mathematics with a minor in financial economics. After graduating in May 2013, Aiday entered the Ph.D. program in Economics, where she specializes in the field of macroeconomics. Her current research focuses on the volatility of employment growth in metropolitan areas.

Aiday has taught at UW–Madison as a teaching assistant for introductory microeconomics, intermediate macroeconomics, game theory, as well as industrial organization. She loves sharing knowledge with students and collaborating with colleagues. In her free time, Aiday likes watching Manchester United games, playing badminton, watching anime, and reading novels.

Di Wang—Early Excellence in Teaching Award

Di Wang holds a M.A. in gender and women’s studies from UW–Madison. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Sociology program. Her research interests are in the areas of gender, sexuality, legal consciousness and social movement, particularly in the emerging new wave of feminist and queer movements in China.

She has taught GWS and sociology courses at UW-Madison over the last three years. She is currently the teaching assistant for Sociology 357: Methods of Sociological Inquiry.

Katie Ricks Yang—Early Excellence in Teaching Award

Katie is a Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroscience Training Program. She uses an integrative, translational approach to investigating the pathology underlying ingestive deficits in Parkinson Disease. She also holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Katie began her teaching career in the Oregon state government and continued her work in STEM outreach community work. She served as a teaching assistant for Neural Basis of Communicative Disorders as well as Neurobiology I and II. Katie has a passion for creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all people and is currently earning her DELTA certificate.

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