Thank you to all of our collaborators, to our contributors, editors, and reviewers. We give special acknowledgement to members of the Digital Initiatives team at Utah State University, Carter Ottley, Amber Reed, and Travis Thurston for their time and efforts.



Sam Clem

Sam Clem (she/they) is a PhD candidate in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Utah State University. With cultural and linguistic ties to both the United States and Chile, her professional interests focus on the intersections of language, identity, and localized knowledge-making, particularly as they relate to the practice of editing. They have eight years of experience in higher education, where their teaching, research, and service have sought to actively challenge oppressive practices in the academy and center alternative voices and ways of knowing. 



Alexandra Lee

Alexandra A. Lee (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education at Michigan State University (MSU). She is broadly interested in how students’ motivational beliefs develop as a function of their unique experiences, and in turn, how these beliefs affect their achievement and career choices. Alexandra teaches a course on educational psychology for pre-service teachers in MSU’s College of Education. 


April Athnos

April Athnos (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in Michigan State University’s Department of Agricultural, Resource, and Food Economics (AFRE). Her research focuses on how stakeholders respond to environmental and resource policies and consumer preferences. She brings economic research into the classroom through the use of transparency and information, behavioral nudges, and incentives. She is the recipient of several teaching awards from MSU, AFRE, and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA).  


Audrey Tocco

Audrey J. Tocco is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research focuses on metacognition in higher education professional development, specifically investigating how graduate student instructors learn and implement metacognition in their teaching. Audrey developed and facilitated a graduate student learning community through an internship with her University’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. She now serves as the Coordinator of the Certificate in College Teaching program.  


Avaneesh Narla

Avaneesh Narla is a Ph.D. candidate in the Physics department (with a specialization in Quantitative Biology) at the University of California, San Diego where he studies the dynamics of complex systems mathematically. Avaneesh has been deeply committed to teaching since high school and has engaged in many capacities in the classroom, including as Instructor of Record at UCSD. He is also a Graduate Teaching Consultant, serving as a pedagogical resource for the UCSD community by creating and leading teaching development programs. Avaneesh hopes to continue teaching and learning after graduation by developing environments that allow for shared vulnerability and collective empathy. 


Elizabeth Griardina

Elizabeth Giardina is a PhD Candidate in English and Bilinski Fellow at the University of California, Davis. As a Teaching Assistant Consultant at the UCD Center for Educational Effectiveness, she offered pedagogical consultations and workshops to interdisciplinary graduate students instructors. Her dissertation, “The Book of Nature: A Poetics of Earth System Design,” claims that eighteenth-and nineteenth-century poetry’s inheritance of natural theological design set the stage for the development of artificial intervention in the Earth System and the theorization of planetary-scale geoengineering. Her work can be found in Aphra Behn Online. 


Ellen Searle

Ellen Searle (she/her) is a M.S. student in Human Development and Family Studies. She has been a graduate teaching assistant for several years, including 3 years as an instructor of record. Ellen’s capstone project focuses on reading with children on the autism spectrum. In addition to her masters degree, Ellen is also obtaining a Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and a Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Postsecondary Education. For the 2021-2022 school year, she participated in the Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST) Fellowship. 


Emile Oshima

Emile Oshima (he/him) is a Ph.D. candidate in Aeronautics at Caltech. He works on experimental fluid dynamics with emphasis on wind tunnel testing for commercial and military aircraft applications. He has been a teaching assistant for two graduate level courses, tutors math and physics to local high school students through an outreach program, and serves as a co-director of the Caltech Project for Effective Teaching. 


Erin Hughes

Erin Hughes is a rising fifth year social psychology PhD student at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on how romantic relationships and the self-concept interact. More specifically, Erin studies how romantic partners can shape each other’s self-concepts and the associated outcomes. Erin’s interests in teaching are largely centered on how teachers can help all students to feel included and welcomed in the classroom and at the university more broadly.   


Faqryza Ab Latif

Faqryza Ab Latif is a PhD student in Educational Psychology at the University of Arizona. As an international student herself, her academic interests focus on the experiences of international students, including the sociocultural barriers they face. Her Master’s thesis centered around international students’ existential isolation and how it affects their sociocultural adjustment. In addition to teaching a course on human development, Faqryza is involved in the National Summer Undergraduate Research Project (NSURP), which provides remote summer research opportunities for underrepresented students in STEM fields. Other research interests include inclusive teaching practices in higher education and minoritized teacher identities. 


Harrison Parker

Harrison Parker (he/him) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Geological and Planetary Sciences Division at Caltech. He is researching air quality in Los Angeles and is currently focusing on the effect of  long term changes in background carbon monoxide pollution on air quality research. He has been a teaching assistant for undergraduate and graduate level environmental science courses and served two years as a co-director of the Caltech Project for Effective Teaching. 


Heath J. Wooten

Heath Joseph Wooten is an MFA candidate in poetry at Northern Michigan University where he has taught several writing courses. While his work is mostly creative in nature, his research examines constructions of queerness inmedia, particularly Boys’ Love manga, which he sees as a potential site of disidentificatory gender and sexual transgression. 


Hima Rawal

Hima Rawal (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in Second Language Studies at Michigan State University (MSU). She earned her MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from MSU under a Fulbright Fellowship and M.Ed. in English Education from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Her research interests include teacher professional development, learner and teacher emotions, trauma-informed teaching, and humanizing research and pedagogy in linguistically diverse classroom settings. She was the inaugural recipient of the Susan M. Gass award for teaching conferred by MSU in 2020. She is also the recipient of the Homber Higbee International Education Award 2022. 


J. Nick Fisk

J. Nick Fisk is a PhD Candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics in the Townsend Lab at Yale University, trainee of Yale’s Cancer Biology Training Program, and a recipient of a NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Fellowship. Fisk also serves as a McDougal Fellow at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, designing and executing pedagogy workshops while also serving on Yale’s Provost’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility Resources. Formerly an adjunct, Fisk has been a coauthor on Discipline Based Education Research (DBER) papers and believes that science students learn best through well-mentored experiential learning opportunities. 


Jennie Baker

Jennie Baker is a PhD student of English in Literature and Culture at the University of Washington. They hold an MA in English Literature and a BS in Secondary Education with certifications in English and Social Studies. Jennie’s research considers the decolonial potential of posthuman themes in speculative fiction, and more broadly writes on technology’s challenges to our concept of the human. As an educator, they teach, train, and research pedagogies informed by disability justice. 


Jonathan Simmons

Jon Simmons is a doctoral candidate at the University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction. His research interests include internationalization of teacher education and the development of intercultural competence, human rights education in elementary schools, and discussion and dialogue in the classroom. He has worked as an elementary school teacher both in the United States and abroad and brings his extensive international experience to his instruction and research.  


Kristyn Lue

Kristyn Lue is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (with a concentration in Mathematics Education) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation focuses on how mathematics GTAs perceive their roles as agents of mathematics socialization for undergraduate students of Color. Broadly, her research interests focus on systemic influences on mathematics socialization and identity development as it relates to racial equity and justice. She received her master’s degree in Higher Education at the University of Maryland, and her bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics from UC Berkeley with minors in English and Education.  


Matthew Langley

Matthew Langley (he/him) is a Ph.D. student in the Biology and Biological Engineering Division at Caltech. He is researching the systems biology of intercellular signaling pathways, including how cells interpret combinatorial signaling inputs to control cell fate. He was a teaching assistant for Caltech’s first-year course on molecular biology and currently serves as a co-director of the Caltech Project for Effective Teaching. 


Melissa Leaym-Fernandez

Melissa Leaym-Fernandez. As a victim-survivor-thriver she unapologetically works as a painter, educator, parent, partner, and researcher in communities around the globe. She researches creative processes of women of color with ACEs and how The Four Loves has help with brain re-balancing, intersectionalized ACE outcome management, and facilitation of empowerment in individual lives and social settings. Additionally, she researches gender representations and visual Modernities within East, and South Asian television and music media markets. Critically examining encharactered costume transformation, binary gender oppression, and contextual presentation of emotion to work toward equitable changes in visual presentation of gender in media. 


Natalie Low

Natalie Low is a Ph.D. candidate in Developmental Psychology at Northern Illinois University where she works in the Parenting and Peer Relationships Lab with Dr. Nina Mounts. Broadly, Natalie is interested in understanding the linkages between the parent and peer contexts across childhood through adolescence. More specifically, she seeks to further explore the strategies that parents use as social coaches to help adolescents navigate their peer experiences. Other research interests of hers include examining the dynamics of parent-adolescent interactions, parents’ and adolescents’ socialization goals, adolescents’ psychosocial adjustment, and the role of early experiences on the child’s socio-emotional outcomes.  


Nathalie Marinho

Nathalie Marinho (she/her) is a third year Ph.D. student in School Psychology at Michigan State University (MSU).  She is an international graduate student from Brasilia, Brazil who began her journey as a teaching assistant in 2017. She has been teaching in the position of instructor of record since 2019 in the department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education (CEPSE) at MSU. She has shared her passion about teaching and lessons she has learned over the years at “Lunch and Learn” sessions hosted by the GTA TLC and yearly international GTA orientations. 


Olivia Wilkins

Olivia Wilkins (she/her) is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she conducts cosmic ice chemistry experiments. She completed her Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech, where she focused on observational astrochemistry. At Caltech, Olivia served as a graduate director of the Caltech Project for Effective Teaching (CPET) for two years and was a graduate coordinator for the Chemistry 101 Tutorials program, which gives graduate students and postdoctoral scholars the opportunity to design and teach their own courses. In addition, Olivia taught Scientific Writing for 11 terms, was a teaching assistant for Cosmochemistry, and designed and taught three tutorial courses, including one on science communication, during her time as a Ph.D. student. She also completed CPET’s two certificate programs, the Certificates of Interest and of Practice in University Teaching.  


Ryan Cheek

Ryan Cheek is an assistant professor at Missouri University of Science & Technology where he teaches technical communication courses and writes about the rhetorics of apocalypse, disease, gender, and technology in electoral politics. Ryan received his PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Utah State University (USU). As a graduate instructor, Ryan taught introductory, argumentative, digital, and professional writing courses in the Department of English at USU and civic communication courses at Weber State University. 


Samantha Prado

Samantha Prado Robledo is a fourth-year PhD student in the Education Studies program at UCSD. She is a first-generation college student and second-generation Mexican American. She attained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Sociology at California State University-San Marcos. Prior to transferring, she earned associate degrees in Anthropology, History, Chicano Studies, and Transfer Studies from San Diego City College. Samantha has served the community in this past decade as an instructor county-wide at Continuing Education programs as well as in community college and university Sociology lecturer capacity. She has also engaged in research efforts that focus on educational equity and underrepresented student access to higher education. 


Sandra Silva-Enos

Sandra Silva-Enos is a doctoral candidate and former secondary English teacher. She has taught many different grade levels throughout her career. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in English Literature from WCSU. She has recently returned to the University of Connecticut as a Dean’s Doctoral Scholar to pursue a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Bilingual and Multicultural Education. She is currently Project Director of a study of sociocultural competence development among middle schoolers enrolled in a dual language program. Sandra’s experience as a teacher drives her research interests centered around multilingual students, particularly those who are immigrants, and the educational activities and contexts that foster their identity, confidence, power, and social position. 


Seth Hunt

Seth Hunt (he/him) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Plant Biology at Michigan State University.  His research interests broadly include ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry as well as student reasoning and ability to exhibit systems thinking.  Seth has taught multiple semesters of introductory biology to majors and non-majors while at MSU and previously was a preceptor with the Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories at the University of Delaware.  He has been awarded the Excellence in Student Development and Service Award from UD and the Fields Award in Teaching from Plant Biology at MSU. 


Shannon Kelley

Shannon Kelley is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Connecticut. Shannon’s research applies lenses from neo-institutional theory and critical discourse analysis to understand how middle and high schools conceptualize and organize reading programs for students with persistent reading difficulty. Shannon has also engaged in research on teacher preparation, multisyllabic word reading instruction, and dyslexia discourse. Prior to graduate school, she taught high school English and middle school special education in Mississippi, Texas, and D.C. In addition to her studies, Shannon currently teaches undergraduate and master’s level courses on literacy instruction methods and works with local districts to design and implement high school reading intervention courses.  


Stacy Bluth

Stacy Bluth is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and a project manager for the Office of Outreach and Engagement at NC State University. Stacy is passionate about civic engagement and its potential to transform individuals, organizations, and communities. Her research focuses on partnerships between communities, nonprofit organizations, governments,and higher education institutions. In the classroom, Stacy teaches her undergraduate students to use sociological principles and methods to conduct program evaluations in partnership with local nonprofit organizations that serve marginalized populations such as youth aging out of foster care. 


Taneisha Vilma

Taneisha Vilma is a Ph.D. candidate in the Developmental Psychology program at Northern Illinois University. Currently, she works in the Cognitive Development lab with Dr. Bradford Pillow and Cognitive and Instructional Psychology Lab with Dr. Anne M. Britt. Taneisha’s research interests include cognitive processes (e.g., reasoning, inference, monitoring) and social cognitive development within educational contexts. She is particularly interested in science and math reasoning development during early childhood to adolescence. For her dissertation, Taneisha seeks to examine scientific reasoning development, specifically children’s inferencing skills and their ability to evaluate the conclusiveness of varying levels of evidence. 

Theresa Hice-Fromille

Theresa Hice-Fromille is a PhD candidate in sociology with designated emphases in critical race and ethnic studies (CRES) and feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is passionate about learning with students and was named a 2019-20 Graduate Pedagogy Fellow (Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning), 2021 Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Teaching Fellow, and 2021-22 Public Humanities Graduate Student Instructor (The Humanities Institute). Her dissertation examines the processes of teaching, learning, and imagining within the African diaspora by centering the experiences of Black women and girls traveling abroad.   


Tianyi Kou-Herrema

Tianyi Kou-Herrema (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in the German Studies Program at Michigan State University (MSU). She is broadly interested in teaching language and culture with a special focus on sports. Her research uses computational techniques to help study cultural phenomena in the German context. She taught at the German Basic Language Program for three years and won the 2021-2022 Excellence-in-Teaching Citation at MSU. She is currently a Max Kade Fellow working on developing an intermediate-level German language course focusing on football and German culture. 


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Exploring how we teach: Lived experiences, lessons, and research about graduate instructors by graduate instructors Copyright © 2022 by Audrey Tocco; Avaneesh Narla; Elizabeth Giardina; Erin Hughes; Faqryza Ab Latif; Heath J. Wooten; J. Nick Fisk; Jennie Baker; Jonathan Simmons; Kristyn Lue; Melissa Leaym-Fernandez; Natalie Low; Ryan Cheek; Samantha Prado; Sandra Silva-Enos; Shannon Kelley; Stacy Bluth; Taneisha Vilma; Theresa Hice-Fromille; Alexandra Lee; April Athnos; Tianyi Kou-Herrema; Seth Hunt; Ellen Searle; Emile Oshima; Olivia Wilkins; Nathalie Marinho; Matthew Langley; Hima Rawal; and Harrison Parker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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