Congratulations to ecology and evolutionary biology graduate student Jillian Myers on her Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award for 2019 from the Rackham Graduate School.
Myers was one of 20 chosen from among an especially impressive group of nominees, representing schools and colleges across the University of Michigan. The awards recognize the efforts and accomplishments of GSIs who demonstrate extraordinary dedication and excellence as teachers. Myers is advised by Professor Tim James.
“Jill has been a fantastic GSI in several courses (from EEB to Honors), taught at Sweetland (Center for Writing), and worked as a consultant at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching,” said EEB Professor Stephen Smith. “Congratulations on the achievement Jillian!” Myers was a Sweetland Junior Fellow.
“My experiences as a GSI for an array of courses has led me to highly value writing in STEM courses,” said Myers. “I've come to use various writing exercises in the classroom – regardless of the course content. These practices ultimately reinforce that science is a process of thinking and doing and give students the opportunity to connect science to society and their own lives.”
“Jill is a creative and personal instructor, dedicated to student development,” wrote Dr. Laura Eidietis, an EEB lecturer, in her nomination letter.
Myers worked with Eidietis in BIO 171, Introduction to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a large course with over 550 students, which is taught in large lectures and weekly, small discussions. Myers led three discussion sections and was a graduate student mentor. GSMs are experienced graduate students who mentor GSIs. In BIO 171, they also mentor undergraduate teaching assistants.
“Jill served a critical function of providing a personal face for students in a large gateway STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) course. She was a valued colleague within the team. Her conversation improved exams, and helped us develop the discussion material…The team appreciated her approachability and candor, as well as the fact that she is a model instructor.
“In sum, my experience with Jill as an instructor and mentor to instructors has been marvelous.”
A private ceremony for recipients’ family and friends will honor the 2019 OGSIs and faculty recipients of Rackham mentoring awards on Monday, April 22 with a reception following. Myers will be presented with an official award certificate and a stipend of $1,000.
“This makes three years in a row that an EEB graduate student has won this award! I think the department is doing something right,” Myers observed.
Recent EEB winners of the award include Thomas Jenkinson (2017) and Lisa Walsh (2018). Previous winners of the Outstanding GSI award from EEB were: Ryan Bebej (2009), Krista McGuire (2007), Zach Miller (2006), Prosanta Chakrabarty and Keith Pecor (2005), Katia Koelle (2004), and many others who won prior to the restructuring of the department. Awardees are expected to demonstrate: exceptional ability, continuous growth and creativity as teachers; service as outstanding mentors and advisors to their students and colleagues; and growth as scholars in the course of their graduate programs.