Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Appreciation Lunch

"Helpful and patient". "Funny and joyful".  "Invaluable mentor." "Always there". These are some of the words undergraduates used in praise and commendation of the graduate teachers with whom they worked.  

Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) hosted a celebration lunch for graduate students nominated by their undergraduate mentees in recognition of their outstanding teaching.  DCAL serves as the campus center for teaching and learning, and offers a broad range of programming to assist graduate students and postdocs in their current and future teaching roles. Many of the graduates who are nominated have participated in teaching courses offered at DCAL.

Each year, the lunch brings the undergraduates, who submit their nominations unbeknownst to the graduates, and the graduate students together in celebration of the work and collaborative relationships. The letters and notes of appreciation for graduates in the classroom and lab, and the significance of their efforts to their mentees, are submitted to Cindy Tobery, DCAL Associate Director, who uses some of the quotes to create a slideshow presentation during the lunch.  “Every year I am amazed by the number of thoughtful nominations submitted by undergraduates and the gratitude the graduate students express for being recognized in this way.  I ask undergraduates to do the nominating because I believe the best people to identify outstanding teachers are those who are learning from them,” Tobery says.

One of this year's nominees, Stephanie Bouley, is clearly passing on the torch of mentoring. Her professor, Yolanda Sanchez, was this year's Faculty Mentor Award recipient. "Working with Dr. Sanchez I have come to realize the importance that mentorship plays in research,” Bouley tells us. “As a first generation college student, all of my research experiences were only possible due to the mentorship I received as an undergraduate, and having had those experiences foster my love of research, I wanted to be able to give back by mentoring other students in the laboratory. While there are numerous opportunities to help foster undergraduate learning here at Dartmouth, the opportunity to work side-by-side with undergraduates in the lab will play an important role in my future career plans."

The bridge that the graduates provide the undergrads can be life changing. One nominator wrote of their mentor, “Working with her, I have rediscovered my love for learning. I am who I am because of her.” Another commented, "To be honest, I would have not done as well as I did in the course without the help of these two individuals." These graduate students hold the door open to judgment-free, accessible, and encouraging work and the words of their nominators clearly reflect the gratitude and appreciation the undergraduates feel for them. 

Graduate Appreciation Week is full of events and activities celebrating the achievements, contributions, and special relationships developed through the graduate student community. Ranging from the highly attended poster presentation session to complimentary yoga classes, to social events organized by various graduate groups and organizations, the community is honored in many ways. Check out the Flickr album for some photos of this year’s celebrations.

The graduate students honored at the DCAL lunch are:

  • Adam Crego, research mentor doctoral student, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Alden Adolph, doctoral student Thayer School of Engineering (for her work in research  engineering)
  • Casey Hua, research mentor MD/PhD candidate, Geisel School of Medicine,
  • David Freund, fourth year doctoral student, Mathematics department (for work in topology)
  • Emily Stephens, research mentor, fourth year doctoral student PBS
  • Evan Dethier, research mentor, doctoral student department of earth sciences
  • Hao-Yi Wang, PhD candidate in the Chemistry department (for work in Chem 5 lab)
  • Jason Laackmann, COLT TA & mentor
  • Justice Amoh (’13), PhD candidate, Thayer School of Engineering and the E.E. Just Graduate Student Mentor
  • Kate Moore, PhD candidate, Mathematics department (for her work in Math 20)
  • Kelsie Leary, PhD candidate, Biochemistry
  • Melanie Dennis, PhD candidate, Mathematics department (for work in Math 10)
  • Sladjana Skopelja, doctoral student in PEMM  (for her work in Immune Biology)
  • Stephanie Joy Bouley, doctoral student in PEMM, (for her work in 
  • Tamer Chabanet,  doctoral student in the MCB program, (for work in Immune Biology)
  • Timothy Cooke, doctoral student in the Chemistry program (for work in the organic lab)