Four graduate assistants receive award for outstanding teaching

Published: April 17, 2020 Author: Emily Baxstrom

Four graduate students received the 2020 Graduate Associate Outstanding Teaching Award (GAOTA). The GAOTA program was established in 1987 to recognize excellent teaching in graduate teaching assistants at the University. Each recipient receives a $500 stipend and a framed certificate to commemorate the occasion.

“The award’s strength has always been its reflection of student perspectives on teaching and learning, and the meaningfulness of this award comes from the role of students in deciding it,” said Tim Vickers, director of the Center for Teaching & Learning. “I think it is fantastic that these individuals are recognized for their incredible contributions not just to our students’ education, but to the schools and departments within which they work.”

Unlike other universities with similar events, the selection process at OHIO is conducted entirely by undergraduate students who volunteer their time to serve on the selection committee. This committee then interviews the top nominees and selects the four winners that are chosen annually.

The 2020 GAOTA recipients are:

Raeven A. Bastock, Interdisciplinary Molecular and Cellular Biology

Bastock is teaching Biology 3225, “General Microbiology Laboratory,” this semester. She received her Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Ohio University and currently is pursuing her Ph.D. in microbiology in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program. “I am honored to have received the GAOTA because it comes from the students themselves,” said Bastock. “I have been in their seats before (some of them literally, as I’m a Bobcat alumna), and I know how frustrating unfamiliar material can be. As a teaching assistant, I try to integrate many teaching styles to cater to all students and this award is a reinforcement that what I’m doing is helpful and appreciated.”

Kellye Annora Blosser, Communication Media Arts

Blosser currently is a teaching assistant for COMM 3900, “Storytelling Through Games.” She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater and will be graduating in May with a Master’s of Fine Arts in communication media arts. “This award means everything to me,” said Blosser. “I think every instructor has fear that what they’re doing in the classroom isn’t working or isn’t helping people, so to hear from my students that they enjoyed and got something important from class means the world to me.”

Logan P. Jacobs, Geology

Jacobs currently is a teaching assistant for structural geology in the Department of Geology. He is pursuing a Master’s of Science in geological sciences. “I am honored to receive this award because it shows that I have connected with my students and was able to relay my passion for geology to them,” said Jacobs. “Having a hand in their growth as a scientist is meaningful to me as a young educator. I am excited to see their professional or academic careers unfold.”

Matthew Valdovinos, Film

This spring semester, Valdovinos is teaching “The Practice of Film Criticism” and “Short Form Media Scriptwriting.” He currently is a Master in Fine Arts second-year candidate. “Receiving this award means so much to me because it validates my passion for teaching,” said Valdovinos. “It’s a reminder that we can all make a difference, even if it’s one student at a time. It’s not so much about the subjects we teach, but how we motivate and inspire the future generation with a passion for knowledge. I’m honored to have been nominated and speechless to have won. I am forever grateful.”

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