College of Arts & Letters 2020 #iteachmsu Educator Award Recipients

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College of Arts & Letters 2020 #iteachmsu Educator Award Recipients

College of Arts & Letters 2020 #iteachmsu Educator Award Recipients

The following is a list of the educators receiving the #iteachmsu Educator Award from the College of Arts & Letters. For more information on these awards, check out the article entitled "#iteachmsu Educator Awards".

Marcos Serafim: Marcos Serafim is a Brazilian multidisciplinary artist working with new media and video in his third year as an MFA candidate. He has exhibited work at the 5th and 6th Ghetto Biennale in Haiti; the Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Brazil; the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), the Queens Museum, and Flux Factory in New York. His work has been screened in film festivals in multiple countries, including the Cine Esquema Novo Film Festival in Brazil (Audience Choice Second Best Short), Israel`s Horn Festival for Experimental Films (Jury's Second Prize),Northampton Film Festival in Massachusetts (Jury's Honorable Mention for Short Experimental), and Faito Doc Festival in Italy (Young Jury's Honorable Mention for Short Documentary). His projects have been regularly funded by grants and scholarships in Brazil, Sweden and the United States; including the Collaborative Arts And Design Research Grant from Michigan State University and the Santa Catarina State Award for Film Production in Brazil. His outstanding research helped to strengthened his undergraduate teaching. With his background in film/video Marcos developed and taught an upper-level course, Experiments in Digital Video. This was a completely new course offering and is now being taught by him for the second time.

 As his Major Professor it has been my privilege to mentor such a talented artist and scholar. I thank him.


Michael McCune: Michael has been an invaluable support this past semester. Even though I have never taken a class with him, he helped me figure out key elements of my exhibition. He was always excited to solve problems that I was facing and offered solutions that I had not considered. His words of support, praise, and laughter have been invaluable. I am inspired by his spirit of making/doing and his ability to think outside the box, way outside of it. Thank you, Michael.


Alex Nichols: Alex Nichols is a storehouse of knowledge when it comes to photography, printing, photobooks, and so much else. Over the past year he has answered so many of my questions, pushed me to consider other ideas, and cheered me on as I take on projects. His support and mentorship have been invaluable to me and I am so grateful. I am inspired by his willingness and excitement to solve problems, to think through ideas, and to support in ways that only he can. Every time I walk into his office, he is excited to answer my questions. Even when it is the 897425847th one in 3 days. I have learned so much from Alex and am grateful for his mentorship and friendship.


Walt Peebles: Walt has had a significant impact on my doctoral journey. He has helped me in numerous ways and most importantly, his passion for teaching and problem solving are infectious. Several times this past semester I went to Walt with challenges I was facing. He always helped me out, patiently listening to me and then thinking/making/doing with me to figure out a solution. Walt is one of the most passionate teachers I have met at MSU and I am so grateful for his support, mentorship, and guidance!


Jacquelynn Sullivan: Jacquelynn is an educator that we don't deserve but need! Over the past year, Jacquelynn has supported my projects tirelessly, helping me think through various aspects of my exhibition. I would not have been able to do any of the work without her unending support. I am amazed and inspired by her commitment towards her work, her students, and everyone who works in the Art Department. I have learned so much from her and will continue to do so. Her ability to support students in helping them create their best work is truly stunning and inspirational. Educators like Jacquelynn allow MSU and the students enrolled here to be successful not just academically but also as whole human beings. I am grateful to know her and to be able to learn and laugh with her.


Kate Sonka: Kate supports education at all levels. She takes students on study away programs to teach them about accessibility, and in doing so, teaches them how to be better advocates for users. Whether it is developing a class that introduces accessibility to students in the humanities or planning a study abroad to Europe that explores international accessibility and sustainability, Kate is an inspiration to all educators as we strive to create more inclusive and accessible learning environments for students.


Paula Winke: Dr. Paula Winke makes room in her instruction for the whole student. Activities in her classes are experiential and relevant to students' experiences, and I have personally benefitted a great deal in our advising sessions from her willingness to broach topics of family life, seeking work/life balance, and being a parent in academia. Thank you, Dr. Winke!


Lorelei Blackburn: Lorelei is a BSP faculty fellow this year. She has had a very difficult section of ANR 210, but has done an excellent job stretching herself as the course convener to push the students to take ownership of their learning. You have helped to design a learning environment where students are able to build community and challenge ways of knowing. Bravo to you Lorelei!


Bruno Ford: Working with Bruno Ford has been such a wonderful and rewarding experience. Bruno was my student as an undergraduate, and seeing a student fall in love with Medieval Literature as I have, and to pursue it as one's life passion has been an incredibly validating journey to watch as a professor. Bruno and I are currently working on a volume of the early Robin Hood ballads as a teaching tool, and I thank Bruno for his incredible insight, knowledge, and awareness as we work together in framing these texts within a larger LGBTQ+ lens.


Justin Wigard: What comes to mind when I think of Justin? Dedicated, smart, and compassionate. He is committed to sharing his passion with students, friends, and colleagues. In the classroom he empowers students to be creative, in seminars and workshops he support the intellectual growth. He thinks and acts as a teacher-scholars that is ready to help make sense of the complexities of the 21st century.


Kaylin Smith: Kaylin will graduate this summer and we'll be sorry to lose her. She has served -- among other roles -- as president of the Linguistics program's graduate student organization, as organizer of our bi-annual grad student research conference GLEAMS, and this year as a Graduate School Writing Fellow. Kaylin has also been a tremendous academic mentor to students in the EEG/Psycholinguistics Lab, teaching them how to use neurolinguistic equipment, and as a social mentor to new and continuing students in the progam.


Adam Gacs: Adam is a quiet leader, whose excellence and care is only known to those, who are lucky enough to work with him or learn from him. He has single-handedly developed a two-year online German course series, which has brought language instruction to so many new audiences at MSU and beyond and has turned out to be a fabulous environment for supporting students with disabilities. Just the other day, a student disclosed that he would have quit college all together, if it had not been for the community, connection, and engagement that he experienced in Adam’s online course. But Adam is so much more than just an excellent classroom teacher. He is a full-body, whole-hearted educator. Adam exemplifies the generosity and collaboration at the heart of MSU’s teaching and learning mission. As a mentor and colleague, he is always willing to share his technical expertise, create new materials (and fix every broken link and error in existing materials), facilitate learning across platforms to meet students where they are. His patience in teaching students in his classrooms, coordinating the online TAs, and assisting his peers knows no limits. Regardless of your skills in language and/or technology, Adam always makes you feel comfortable and supported. He assumes no background knowledge and starts his educating at your level.

It is high time that we say thank you to Adam for all that he has done for the German program as an educator!


Amelia Stieren: Amelia Stieren is currently the graduate student representative in the German Program, and I am also serving as her MA advisor. In her role as grad rep, she is an important conduit of communication: she attends faculty meetings, bringing grad student concerns to our attention and relaying back to her fellow students our responses and other important information. She has also been very active in building up the contact among grad students across several grad programs (German, French, and Spanish). For this good work, we in the German Program are very thankful to Amelia! On a personal level, Amelia has had quite a positive impact on me. In our first advising meeting last fall, she expressed her goal to work with more intention this academic year. I shared this perspective with the other students in our graduate colloquium, encouraging them to keep this in mind as they work throughout the year, and I continue to strive to work with this kind of focus myself. From casual conversations about teaching to serious discussions of her thesis to difficult discussions of personal loss, I always come away from our interactions feeling inspired, having reflected together on what it means to be an educator, a scholar, and a “Mensch”. For this, I am very thankful!


Maria Buttiler: I’m so pleased to recognize Maria Belen Buttiler for her dedication and outstanding contributions to the International teaching Assistant (ITA) Program. Maria, who is an international student herself, was awarded the ITA Program Pronunciation Instruction Fellowship for three semesters and has the served the ITA Program by assisting other international students with their pronunciation and presentation skills. She is highly motivated and passionate, and always goes the extra mile to help the students she is working with, whether that means researching additional strategies and tools or preparing helpful learning materials tailored to specific student needs. Maria is also always ready and willing to share her knowledge and work with her peers. As her supervisor, I have found that I have learned a great deal from her as well. Thank you, Maria!


Tamoha Siddiqui: Within the first few days of classes being moved online, Tamoha created a virtual WhatsApp group chat that gathered many first and second year students in the MA TESOL and SLS PhD programs. Knowing ahead of time the challenges of isolation that this time could bring, Tamoha was proactive and sought to gather everyone together for a place of mutual support and encouragement. Thank you for spreading the love, Tamoha!


Catherine Barland: Catherine has been a great student in the French program. As a TA, she has a very strong commitment to teaching excellence. As a student, she is a pleasure to have in class, always making positive and intelligent comments in class. As my RA, she has saved me a lot of time by transcribing recordings meticulously. She is dedicated to her students as well as her academic work. Merci Catherine!


Sarah Brundrett: Sarah is full of energy and positivity. She brings both of these things to every class she teaches and takes and can always be found with a smile on her face. During her MA program, she's been working very hard on all of her classes, showing her commitment to learning. But her heart and focus are on teaching. That's why she is writing a teaching portfolio in which she is developing writing activities that the French program will be using next year. Merci Sarah!


Katie Rottman: Katie loves teaching the French language. During her MA program, she's been working very hard on all of her classes, showing her commitment to learning. But her heart and focus are on teaching. For her MA project, she's chosen to develop an entire chapter for the online textbook we're going to use in the future. Students are going to learn French for many years to come thanks to her work. Merci Katie!


Caitlin Cornell: Caitlin Cornell has been working tirelessly to improve access to education and other resources for the community at large. She has shared resources and taught people how to keep their courses accessible even during this transition to online. She has led several learning communities that have a great focus on inclusivity and equity, while also being interdisciplinary (e.g., the Applied Scholars group housed in the SLS program and an accessibility learning group that developed out of a course she taught). A Lansing native, she has also been committed to her community delivering meals and other resources to struggling families.


Claire Wilcher: Claire came to MSU as more of a colleague than student and inspires others to do their best work. Claire is an exceptional actor, student, and educator and will be a major force of change in our profession.


Kate Fedewa: Kate displays a vast knowledge of pedagogy and practice. She is consistently working with students in her writing, editing, publishing, and grammar classes to prepare them for work beyond MSU - combining her professional experience as a published author with her passion for teaching. She cares deeply about pedagogy and is developing new methods to be used to assess how we teach and support teachers of Professional and Public Writing.


Mike Ristich: Mike has excelled as a teacher and a mentor for students in his Prep for College Writing and First-Year Writing classes at MSU. He is deliberate in how he takes time to work with students so they can be successful in the classroom and beyond. When I think about what it means to be a caring teacher, I think about how Mike works with his students and supports them at all levels.


Madeline Shellgren: Maddie has made (and continues to make) invaluable contributions to MSU's campus. She volunteers her time to efforts and initiatives that are important to her, despite working full time and pursuing her doctorate. She cares deeply for her colleagues and the spartan community which she has shown as program coordinator, coach, and educator.


Kenlea Pebbles: Kenlea not only focuses her work on interdisciplinary approaches to help us understand the importance of environmental health, she does so in ways that can affect our lives as teachers and learners. Her presentation in my environmental writing course inspired us all to think more deeply and more compassionately about how the language and frames we use might affect environmental studies and, as one students put it, "how language and assumptions can limit how we care about and for the earth.


Pia Banzhaf: Upon entering Deutsch 101 I was very uncertain as to if I would continue learning Deutsch after 101 and how the class would go in general. But I was overwhelmed with the kindness of Frau Dr. Banzhaf and her abilities to make me feel conformable and welcome in our small Deutsch Gemeinde. This class made me develop a love for Deutsch Kultur and I believe that is now never going to change, and I owe that to Frau Dr.Banzhaf. Deutsch is one of the most important things in my life now because of the Deutsch Gemeinde that Frau Dr.Banzhaf created for me.


Leonie Hintze: Vielen Vielen Dank! You were amazing last semster and I really hope you conitnue to spread your knwoldege wherever you go! Stay safe!

Anyone can recognize a fellow Spartan for their contributions to MSU's teaching and learning mission or for how they made a lasting impression on your experience. All you have to do is click "Thank an Educator" in the left panel of From there you'll be directed to a form where you can enter the name, netID, and a short story of the educator you'd like to recognize.

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Makena Neal #iteachmsu Educator Awards
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