Kendria Kelly-Taylor, a PhD graduate of the School of Public Health & Information Sciences, received the inaugural Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Award in April.
The award was presented during the University of Louisville Graduate School’s 11th Annual Dean’s Reception in April in recognition of her three years of outstanding performance as a graduate teaching assistant. The Graduate School also commended runner-up Lauren Fusilier, an English doctoral student, with an honorable mention.
The new award recognizes graduate teaching assistants who have distinguished themselves by the care they have given and the excellence they have shown in meeting their instructional responsibilities.
Beth Boehm, dean of the Graduate School, led the charge for establishing the university-wide teaching award to provide students with the opportunity to be acknowledged for their excellent teaching – not just at graduation but throughout their career as instructors. While students were invited to self-nominate, nominations were submitted in partnership from academic units.
“We need to acknowledge the very important role graduate students play as instructors,” said Boehm. “Graduate teaching assistants are central to the experience of our undergraduates, as graders, as lab assistants, as course assistants, and even as instructors of record. We need to let them know how much they are appreciated.”
This award will be given each spring semester to one UofL graduate student with at least two semesters of experience as a graduate teaching assistant.
For Kelly-Taylor, the most valuable part of her experience as a graduate teaching assistant has been the ability to make a positive impact.
“Receiving this award means my hard work and passion for teaching has been transformative, not only for myself, but for the many students I have had an opportunity to encounter,” she said.
Kelly-Taylor, who graduated in May 2023, plans to use her doctorate degree to teach the next generation of public health scholars.
“For me, this fuels my passion to continue to provide them with the tools and knowledge that I hope elevates their academic experience.”
By Ashley Striegel