Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence

Graduate Students are recommended for the award by their department. Award recipients are publicized in the Commencement booklet in the year of their graduation.

2016-2017 Academic Year


Nathan Brown Physics

Nathan is a seventh-year PhD candidate in Physics. His research embodies the quest to understand Quantum Chromodynamics, the theory that describes the force holding together the quarks inside protons and neutrons, using high-precision simulations. As an instructor in the summer introductory Physics 118/198 course, he employed an active approach to learning, using probing questions to help students work through problems until they found the solution themselves.

Luca Foti History 

Luca Foti is a fifth-year PhD candidate in History. His dissertation in medieval European history is titled, “Heretical Friars: The Struggle for Religio-Political Authority in the Fourteenth-Century Papal Territories”. Luca’s teaching demonstrates unusual depth. He is known for his ability to bring temporally distant historical topics to life. He has taught in courses about the Roman Empire and the Holocaust; he currently teaches his own course: “Power and the Holy in Latin Christendom”. Faculty commends his “real expertise in widely diverse subjects”.

Kenyon Gradert American Culture Studies

Kenyon Gradert is a PhD candidate in English. In 2017, he successfully defended his dissertation, a study of American antislavery writers. Kenyon is also an enthusiastic teacher. He has taught writing at Deep Springs College, an experimental school and working cattle ranch, and will return to Wash U this summer to teach a course on Antislavery America. At Wash U, he has taught composition and been an assistant in courses on the American Renaissance, American Folk, and "Ground Zero," a course on memorialization of trauma, based in New York City. His nomination comes from this course, as well as "American Reckoning," a self-designed interdisciplinary AMCS course on the legacies of American slavery.

Katherine Harnish Art History and Archaeology

Kate is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. She has also completed the requirements for a Graduate Certificate in American Culture Studies. Her dissertation is on late 19th-century American still life paintings that participate in a discourse about the symbolic value of contemporary mass-produced printed ephemera, including paper currency.  Kate has taught for 6 semesters in all 3 of her department's large gateway courses. In addition, she was Instructor of Record for "Introduction to Modern Art, Architecture and Design" in summer 2016. In all of these settings, she has been, a consummate professional even at this early stage in her career.

Hélène Martin French Language and Literature

Hélène Martin is a fourth-year PhD candidate in French, writing a dissertation on Sixteenth-Century French literature. In 2015, she received the Elizabeth Schreiber Teaching award, which goes to the best Instructor of Record in French. Between fall 2013 and fall 2016, she has taught at all French language levels, including French 307, “French Level 4: Advanced French” which is typically taught by faculty members. Hélène is also very appreciated by her students who consider her a wonderful instructor, who is available for students outside of class, and very patient in explaining concepts until they are crystal clear. 

Erika Rodriguez Comparative Literature 

Erika Rodriguez is a fourth-year candidate in the program in Comparative Literature with research interests in nineteenth-century Spain, the urban novel, women and gender, and disability studies. She has taught Spanish language and literature, English Writing, and Comparative Literature. Student and faculty evaluations testify to her highly developed pedagogical intelligence, dedication to the teaching profession, openness to new methods and approaches, ability to think about the big picture, and continued growth as a teacher. Her teaching style has been described as “clear and compelling,” “thorough and original,” and her lessons as “well-crafted and well-paced.” In the words of a Writing I student, “Professor Rodriguez is awesome.”

Claire Ross Germanic Languages and Literatures

Claire Ross is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. Her research and teaching interests include migrant and minority discourses, intertextuality in post-1945 German literature, and feminist theory. Claire is a highly engaged teacher who goes above and beyond the typical TA duties to get to know the fine details of her students’ abilities and challenges. Faculty who have observed Claire’s teaching refer to her as “a stellar teacher,” while students praise her in their evaluations for her superior knowledge of the material. One student writes, “On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, I would give a 10 on everything.” Another writes that Claire “is the most loving and inspiring lecturer I’ve ever seen.”

Eddie Saliba Chemistry 

Eddie Saliba is a third-year PhD candidate in Chemistry. Eddie’s research involves developing instrumentation and methods to increase the sensitivity of magic angle spinning (MAS) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy using the dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) technique. Eddie has served as TA for several introductory and advanced courses in the Chemistry Department. His great strength in teaching is his extremely positive and happy demeanor. Eddie is always exited to talk with students about General Chemistry experiments or derivations covered in Physical Chemistry lectures. As a TA in General Chemistry, Eddie spearheaded the implementation of the new online homework system. In this special project, he showcased his ingenuity, communication skills, and reliability as a TA.

Elyse Singer Anthropology 

Elyse Singer is a sixth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology, with interests in gender, morality, and reproductive governance in contemporary Mexico. Elyse is one of those rare individuals who is not only a gifted and prolific scholar, but also a passionate, engaged, and incredibly talented teacher. Her course “Regulating Reproduction: Morality, Politics, and (In)Justice” is a case in point. A rigorous class, this discussion-based seminar aimed to challenge students while also scaffolding them in new ways of conceptualizing reproduction, politics, and moral systems. In course evaluations, her students described her as, “absolutely amazing,” “dynamic,” “supportive,” “open,” “excited,” “engaging,” “incredibly passionate about the topic,” and “hands-down the best professor I've ever had,” marking Elyse exceptionally deserving of this teaching recognition.

Merrill Turner English and American Literature 

Merrill Turner is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the English Department. Her field of research is 20th-century British fiction. Merrill is a dedicated, witty, and empathetic teacher with an exceptional range of knowledge and talents. One of her mentors describes a “Merrill effect” in which the intellectual generosity she displays as a teacher is absorbed by her students, who in turn become more confident, talkative, and affirmative in class discussions. In their evaluations, her students praise Merrill’s “accessible and charismatic teaching,” and refer to her as “constructive,” “reassuring,” “fabulous,” “insanely knowledgeable,” and—from one student—“brilliant, fearless, and approachable.”


Honorable Mentions

Meredith Sargent Mathematics  

Cassondra Vernier Evolution, Ecology, and Population Biology 

Dalston Ward Political Science 

Li Wei Chinese, East Asian Language and Cultures 

2015-2016 Academic Year


Emily Hanson Art History and Archaeology

Ling Kang Chinese and Comparative Literature

Simone Pfleger Germanic Languages and Literatures

Carmen Toro González-Green Hispanic Languages, and Literatures

Amanda Scott History

Kelsey Klotz Music/American Culture Studies

Betul Demirkaya Political Science

2014-2015 Academic Year


Jessica Joganic Anthropology

Jessica Joganic Art History, and Archaeology

Kei Fuchigami Chemistry

Annelise Wasmoen Comparative Literature

Annelise Duerden English

Brooke Shafar Germanic Languages, and Literature

Dale Kretz History

Blaire Weidler Psychology

Ryan Soklaski Physics


Honorable Mentions

Nick Baima Philosophy

Chris Born Japanese Language and Literature

Irene Domingo Hispanic Languages and Literatures

Amanda Scott History

Greg Whitfield Political Science

Elisabeth Windle Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

2013-2014 Academic Year


Diana Fridberg Anthropology

Jennifer Padgett Art History 

Kenyon Gradert Writing I Program 

Brian Wieliczka Chemistry 

Nicholas Tamarkin Comparative Literature 

Kathleen Zelle Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences 

Shuxin Hong East Asian Languages and Cultures 

Elizabeth Thorne-Wallington Education 

Claire Class English & Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies 

Angineh Djavadghazaryans Germanic Languages and Literatures 

Jennifer Westrick History 

Benjamin Passer Mathematics 

Nathan Adams Philosophy 

Dimitrios Manolidis Physics 

Viktoryia Schnose Political Science 

Fade Eadeh Psychology 

Stacy Davis Romance Languages and Literatures

2012-2013 Academic Year


John Willman Anthropology 

Andrew Findley Art History and Archaeology 

Jillian Smith Chemistry 

Maya Ganapathy Comparative Literature 

Margaret Anne Gray Hinkle Earth and Planetary Sciences 

Kazue Harada East Asian Languages and Cultures 

Ashley Macrander Education 

Lauren Robertson English 

Lisa Haegele German 

James Palmer History 

Lauren Olin Philosophy 

Xiaoxian "Sherry" Yin Physics 

Michael Nelson Political Science 

Julia Langer Psychology 

Siham Bouamer Romance Languages and Literatures

2011-2012 Academic Year


Sarah McGavran Art History and Archaeology 

Nicholas Holtgrewe Chemistry 

Aysegul Turan Comparative Literature 

Jordan Teisher Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences 

Christopher P. Orth Earth and Planetary Sciences 

Chun-Yu Lu East Asian Languages and Cultures 

Matthew Fluharty English 

Sarah Hillenbrand Germanic Languages and Literatures 

Lisa Lillie History Sara Jay International Area Studies 

Corey L. Twitchell Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures 

Joshua D. Potter Political Science 

Emily Cohen-Shikora Psychology 

Manella Andia Augustin Romance Languages and Literatures 

Cailin Copan-Kelly Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

2010-2011 Academic Year


Julia Maki Anthropology

Byrna Campbell Art History and Archaeology 

David Holloway Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literature 

Sophia White Chemistry 

Kate Fama English 

Faruk Pasic Germanic Languages and Literatures 

Kevin Wooten History 

Rajbir Purewal International Area Studies 

Jeff Langford Mathematics 

Zachary Hoskins Philosophy 

Shawn DeCenzo Physics 

Morgan Hazelton Political Science 

Alejandra Aguilar Romance Languages and Literatures 

Patrick Brugh Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

2009-2010 Academic Year


Cara Ocobock Anthropology 

Anna Warbelow Art History and Archaeology 

Yoojin Soh Asian and Near Eastern Studies 

Maureen McKiernan Chemistry 

Nicholas Miller English 

Norma Suvak Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 

Tracy Graves Germanic Languages and Literatures 

Tanya Roth History 

Timothy Oakberg Philosophy 

Timothy Bono Psychology 

Patrick Johnson Physics 

Diana O'Brien Political Science 

Angeles Donoso Romance Languages and Literatures

2008-2009 Academic Year


Helina Woldekiros Anthropology

Elissa Weichbrodt Art History and Archaeology

Ritu Shrestha Chemistry

Christopher Boehm Comparative Literature

Aleksandr Yankelevich Economics

Emily Fammartino English

Julia Kleinheider Germanic Languages and Literatures

Matthew Stewart History

Michael Deutsch Mathematics

Sarah Robins Philosophy

Brandan Grayson Romance Languages and Literature

Gail Wolfe Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

2007-2008 Academic Year


Rachel Dunn Anthropology 

Matt Bailey Art History and Archaeology 

Elaine Frawley Biology/Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences 

Todsapon Thananatthanachon Chemistry 

Erica Delsandro English / The Writing Program 

Russell Alt Germanic Languages and Literatures 

Aaron Akins History 

Nic Sedlock Mathematics 

David Bauman Philosophy 

Nicholas Mauro Physics 

Mariana Medina Political Science 

Karl Szpunar Psychology 

Kate McCarthy Romance Languages and Literatures

Necia Chronister Women and Gender Studies

2006-2007 Academic Year


M. Mercedez Guitierrez Anthropology 

Sookja Cho Asian and Near Eastern Languages 

Stacy Mui Chemistry 

Elizabeth Donnelly Classics 

Srikanth Ramamurthy Economics 

Brooke Taylor English / The Writing Program 

Suzuko Mousel Knott Germanic Languages and Literatures 

David Pennington History 

Scott Cook Mathematics 

Jeff Brown Philosophy 

Anthony Madonna Political Science 

Violaine White Romance Languages and Literatures 

Tarah Demant Women and Gender Studies