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2013-2014 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. Four awards are presented each year: two to the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, one to the Bayer School for Natural and Environmental Sciences, and one to the Mylan School of Pharmacy.

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, twelve 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,
click here.

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Science

Jacilynn A. Brant, Chemistry

Jacilynn's dedication to her students' learning was illustrated not only by her student evaluations and letters of observation, but also through her willingness to explore new methods of teaching and review.  The committee applauded Jacilynn's ability to engage difficult material in easily-understandable ways.


Natasha Dias, Biological Science

Her well-designed teaching portfolio, engaging instructional methods, and love of her students and teaching were some of the many reasons why Natasha was nominated for this year's award.  This year's committee especially appreciated Natasha's ability to communicate effectively with her undergraduates who are encountering the labyrinth of scientific facts and terminology.


Chris Fonner, Biological Science

Chris' dedication to the field of biology and his positive approach to his students were acknowledged by this year's committee.  Additionally, his use of innovative technology and positive student evaluations made Chris an outstanding nominee for this year's award.


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Joseph Cimakasky, Philosophy

Joseph's students have shown their appreciation and admiration of his teaching ability through his consistently high-scoring student evaluations.  His ability to present complex philosophical ideas is reflected in his letters of recommendation and classroom observations.


Nathan Eckstrand, Philosophy

Nathan's dedication to the field of philosophy and education is well documented by his letters of recommendation and student evaluations.  This year's committee celebrated his ability to make connections between current events and complex philosophical ideas, as noted in both his classroom observations and student feedback.


Jade Higa, English

Jade's commitment to and respect for her students prompted her nomination for this year's award.  Her strong statement of teaching philosophy, enthusiastic approach in the classroom, and productive approaches to the 'flipped-classroom' were commended by the award committee. 


Ashley Kunsa, English

Ashley's outstanding student evaluations, well thought-out out lesson plans, and willingness to adapt to student needs prompted her nomination for this year's award.  Additionally, her ability to adapt and willingness to grow as a teacher were recognized by this year's committee.


Shreyashi Mukherjee, English

Shreyashi's dedication to her growth as a teacher, her heart-felt respect for her students, and positive observations by faculty members were some of the many positive attributes this year's committee recognized. Her willingness to explore culturally sensitive topics with undergraduate students was commended. 


Jacob Kohlhaas, Theology

His participation with students, CTE, and departmental activities, alongside his dedication to his students, his field, and diverse theological topics were articulated through Jacob's letters of recommendation and observations. The commitee was impressed with Jacob's daily reflection on the effectiveness of his teaching.




Joyce Konigsburg, Theology

Designing innovative and cross-disciplinary activities in her core classes were some of the many reasons why Joyce was nominated for this year's award.  Additionally, her ability to relate her field to her students' interests reflects her dedication to the whole-person education of Duquesne's students.




Jonathan Yahalom, Psychology

Jonathan's outstanding student evaluations and well-designed portfolio were two of the reasons why this aspiring psychologist was nominated.  This year's committee took note of Jonathan's ability to take complex topics and elucidate them for his students.


Mylan School of Pharmacy

Amanda Gleixner, Pharmacy

Amanda's work with Mylan's new ABLE Labs prompted her nomination for this year's award.  Her dedication to and initiative in approaching this new lab as a learning-tool for her students stands out as exemplary work here at Duquesne.