Wendy Dorman, a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University and a teaching assistant for Dr. Katherine Ryker, was awarded the Outstanding Teachers Assistant Award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). This award honors graduate and undergraduate students who have demonstrated excellence as teaching assistants.
Dorman was nominated by Dr. Ryker, a professor in Earth science education and 2011 Outstanding TA award recipient, for going above and beyond standard teaching assistant responsibilities to improve the quality of education for students. She worked closely with hundreds of future elementary teachers, teaching 11 sections of an Earth Science lab designed specifically for them.
“I would take notes after every class and constantly try to improve my lectures,” said Dorman. “I try to take stock in the middle of the semester and make sure I'm giving just as much energy as I was in the beginning.”
Before attending Eastern Michigan University, Dorman endured personal struggles and found it difficult to find her footing once she began her undergraduate degree. However, she found school to be a place of sanctuary and stability.
“It was instructors willing to serve as mentors and work with me beyond the classroom that helped me discover what I loved about science, and subsequently what I could accomplish as a student,” she said
“I know that education has the potential to transform a person’s life, and that is with me when I teach. I'm not just influencing the way my own student learns, but the way they will share that with their future students.”
Only six people were selected from across the nation to receive this award; nine in total were selected for the entire year.
Winners of the award receive a one-year membership in NAGT, which includes an online subscription to the “Journal of Geoscience Education” and “In The Trenches,” a quarterly magazine.
The National Association of Geoscience Teachers works to raise the quality of and emphasis on geoscience education, foster improvement in the teaching of the Earth sciences and emphasize the cultural significance of the Earth sciences, and to disseminate knowledge in this field to the general public. Visit the NAGT homepage to learn more about their work.