K-State graduate students recognized for outstanding teaching
Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023
MANHATTAN — Two Kansas State University graduate students have been recognized for exemplary teaching with the Graduate Student Council Award for Graduate Student Teaching Excellence.
The recipients are Delaney Sullivan, master's student in English, Camden, Delaware, and Endy Lopes Kailer, doctoral student in agronomy, Piedade do Rio Grande, Brazil. Sullivan's major professor is Philip Nel, professor of English, and Kailer's major professor is Charles W. Rice, university distinguished professor of agronomy.
Sullivan and Kailer will serve as K-State's nominees for the annual Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award. They will also compete for a $750 honorarium presented at the association's annual meeting in April, and a winner will be chosen at both the master's and doctoral levels.
The Graduate Student Council Award for Graduate Student Teaching Excellence, sponsored by K-State's Graduate Student Council, recognizes graduate students who have excelled in classroom teaching and made significant contributions to the learning mission of the university.
Each recipient received a $500 scholarship and had their name engraved on a perpetual plaque to be displayed in their respective department until the next award is given.
"The joy I get from teaching comes from seeing my students improve," Sullivan said. "When I get to read a revised draft of their essays, and they successfully use my comments to improve exponentially, those are the moments I most enjoy about teaching."
Sullivan said her teaching philosophy is centered around student engagement and confidence.
"Students' lack of confidence in their writing often impacts their performance, so I see my job as a 'writing coach' to make them believe in their own abilities," she said.
After completing her master's degree, Sullivan plans to continue her graduate school journey in a Ph.D. program in children's literature and become a professor.
Kailer's teaching philosophy is rooted in her belief in the transformative power of education.
"I am passionate about simplifying complex concepts, using real-life examples and promoting active student participation," Kailer said. "I believe in the importance of hands-on experiences, like the resin blocks I've developed for teaching soil microbiology. These materials not only engage students but also help them better understand and connect with the subject matter. Continuous improvement is a core principle for me, and I'm dedicated to inspiring the next generation of agronomy professionals."
Kailer said that coming from a rural, low-income background in Brazil, she sees herself as living proof that education can change lives.
"To me, teaching is much more than simply delivering information," she said. "It is about connecting with students, understanding their diverse backgrounds, and creating a safe and inclusive space for learning."
Kailer's goal is to become a college professor. To reach that goal, Kailer hopes to refine her teaching methods, stay actively engaged in professional organizations, and contribute to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in academia and in the scientific community.
"Sullivan and Kailer illustrate the outstanding graduate student teachers who contribute to K-State's mission in teaching and learning," said Claudia Petrescu, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School. "All of our GTAs enhance the undergraduate experience by providing high-quality teaching and mentorship. Teaching during their graduate education allows graduate students to gain valuable skills and increases their competitiveness for future careers.
Petrescu said K-State has a strong track record for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award.
"I am proud to have Sullivan and Kailer as our nominees," she said, "and I know they will represent K-State well in this year's competition."