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K-State graduate students receive regional awards for outstanding teaching

Monday, April 8, 2024



MANHATTAN — Two Kansas State University graduate students were awarded the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award at the association's annual meeting in St. Louis.

Delaney Sullivan, master's student in English, Camden, Delaware, and Endy Lopes Kailer, doctoral student in agronomy, Piedade do Rio Grande, Brazil, were selected for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools, or MAGS, Excellence in Teaching Awards from a pool of nominations submitted by MAGS member institutions representing 14 states. Sullivan and Kailer each received a $750 honorarium in recognition of their outstanding teaching.

This is the second time that K-State has won both the master's and doctoral MAGS Excellence in Teaching Awards in the same year. The first time was in 2013. With Sullivan and Kailer's awards, K-State has had more award recipients than any other MAGS institution since the award began in 2012.

Sullivan expected to pursue a career in writing or publishing. It was not until she had the opportunity to teach as a master's student that she realized her passion and talent for teaching.

"Much like most passions in life, I fell into teaching," Sullivan said. "I became an instructor before I knew I was meant to be one. I know now that my purpose on this Earth is to teach. The joy I get from watching students learn or become interested in a topic they found previously uninteresting is a privilege I take seriously."

Sullivan's teaching success has been guided by a strong philosophy: "A confident student is an engaged student, and engaged students learn," she said.

Sullivan credits her success to the training and mentoring she received at K-State.

"I'd like to thank the current and former directors of the expository writing program at K-State, Dr. Abby Knoblauch and Dr. Philip Marzluf, for their diligent pedagogical support as they, perhaps, have the hardest job: teaching teachers how to teach," Sullivan said. "I'd also like to thank the exceptional English department faculty at K-State, all of whom provide examples of teaching that I can only aspire to meet."

Sullivan will graduate from her master's program this May. She will continue advancing her education and her teaching profession in a doctoral program for English literature in the fall. Her major professor is Philip Nel, university distinguished professor of English.

View a sample of Sullivan's award-winning teaching in her teaching-in-action video submitted as part of the award nomination.

Kailer's success in teaching stems from her passion for communication and her own early learning experiences.

"I come from a very remote area in southeast Brazil, where I was raised with minimal resources, and if you can hear me today, I am living proof that we can change lives through education," she said.

Kailer received scholarships to help her learn English, but she said the journey was not easy, and she knows that others have shared her experiences.

"I created my own English course to make English fun and accessible to kids who could not afford a language course," she said. "That is when my dream of communicating and being heard evolved into a mission to change lives, one student at a time."

Kailer has taught 591 students at Kansas State University in two and a half years, and she says it is the best part of her job.

"That is what gets me out of bed every morning," she said. "In fact, I've heard from students that they added agronomy as a second major because of my soils class!”

Kailer acknowledges her teachers and supporters for what she has accomplished as a teacher.

"I would like to thank my very first English teacher, the one who believed in me when nobody else did, not even myself. And my mum, who filled our house with English books and went after every single scholarship to make it possible for me to be here."

Kailer said this award validates her hard work and dedication to teaching excellence. She said the recognition will enhance her credibility as a future college professor and provide valuable networking opportunities.

Kailer's major professor is Charles Rice, university distinguished professor of agronomy. View a sample of Kailer's award-winning teaching in her teaching-in-action video submitted as part of the award nomination.

For more information about these awards, visit the GSC and MAGS awards for Graduate Student Teaching Excellence website. Questions may be directed to Megan Miller, Graduate School assistant director of student success at mmmiller@k-state.edu

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Division of Communications and Marketing


Graduate School

News tip

Camden, Delaware.


Download the following photo.

Kailer and Sullivan

Endy Lopes Kailer, left, doctoral student in agronomy, and Delaney Sullivan, master's student in English, were awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools on April 4.

Written by

Michael Sellman