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.”