Gillings School honors 3 graduate students with inaugural teaching assistant awards
April 18, 2022
This year, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has launched the Gillings School Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA) Awards to recognize teaching assistants who inspire students; enhance student learning through creative, engaging and/or innovative teaching methods; support student success in the classroom; and facilitate student development as public health professionals.
Teaching assistants nominated for this award are students who are pursuing a graduate degree at the Gillings School and have served in a TA role during the current academic year. This year, the award comes with a $1,000 prize, intended to help advance their educational development in teaching.
The 2022 award winners are Dane Emmerling, graduate teaching assistant and doctoral student in health behavior; Lee Doyle, graduate research assistant and Master of Public Health student in health behavior; and Hanna Huffstetler, graduate teaching assistant and doctoral student in health behavior.
“Dane was personable, committed and brought new energy to the project,” said a nominator of Emmerling’s work with a Capstone group. “With his depth of community experience, he was adept at navigating relationships with partner organizations and crafting opportunities for students to learn and grow. This dedication and skillful way of working meant that Gillings was able to commit well over 30,000 hours to organizations in North Carolina. I feel honored to have observed his excellence in teaching assistance first-hand and believe he is uniquely qualified for this award due to the quantity and quality of his TA work at Gillings.”
“Of all the teaching assistants I have interacted with, Lee embodied the role of both peer and mentor to an exceptional degree,” one nominator wrote. “They engaged each and every student in recitation [discussions] to share their thoughts and ideas, managing differing personalities and leadership styles so that each member had a chance to speak. In times of confusion and in times of frustration with the teaching team, they were receptive to student feedback and sought to implement changes in the course structure to best ameliorate discontent. Their wealth of experience was a wonderful source of guidance for each student, and each assignment was returned with thoughtful, kind, constructive feedback that sharpened perspectives and work products toward far improved versions.
“Beyond their academic and professional excellence, Lee also made themselves available as a source of emotional support and fostered a safe space for each student to express anxieties during particularly challenging times. All in all, Gillings and the world at large are better by having Lee in it. I can think of no one else more qualified and deserving of recognition than Lee Doyle.”
“Her compassion for the students goes a long way,” one nominator said of Huffstetler. “She is always willing to meet outside of class time for any assistance and further explanation of class/work material when needed, and she ensured students understood assignments and content. She is always extremely well-spoken, which personally inspired me to develop my public speaking skills. She also assisted professors on tasks during class before they even asked her to. Students have always had materials on time, and the Sakai sites have always been extremely easy to navigate. She is responsive, dedicated, intelligent, caring and welcoming. She has been a TA several times, and I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of this award.”
Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at email@example.com.