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K-State Today

February 9, 2024

College of Arts and Sciences teaching, advising and staff awards announced

Submitted by Marcia Locke

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The College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State University announces and congratulates the winners of the 2023 William Stamey, Ronald Gaches and Annette Maggio awards. The Gaches awards recognize undergraduate teaching excellence. The Stamey awards recognize outstanding undergraduate teaching and advising. The Maggio award recognizes outstanding administrative and support staff.

William L. Stamey Award for Undergraduate Teaching:

  • Theresa Merrick, instructor and assistant director of the Writing Center, English.
  • Wendy Reeves, teaching assistant professor, Division of Biology.

William L. Stamey Award for Graduate Teaching Assistant:

  • Allan Quadros, graduate teaching assistant, statistics.

William L. Stamey Award for Advising:

  • Elli Archer, academic advisor, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Janae Mooty, academic advisor, biochemistry and molecular biophysics, physics and statistics.

Ronald N. Gaches Lifetime Teaching Award:

Ronald N. Gaches Undergraduate Teaching Award:

  • Danielle LaGree, associate professor, A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication.

Annette Maggio Award for Unclassified Staff:

  • Sonya Baker, degree analyst and graduation specialist, College of Arts and Sciences.

Anne Phillips and Phillip Marzluf, professors, English, said of Merrick:

"As an instructor of ENGL 415 Written Communication for Engineers, Theresa has transformed the writing experience for non-English majors, fostering trust and engagement through relevant coursework and substantive presentations. She employs innovative pedagogies and fosters a supportive learning environment, ensuring students feel empowered to communicate effectively in their future careers."

Lily Alberding, senior in modern languages and mechanical engineering, said of Merrick:

"I now genuinely enjoy writing (at least more than I did) due to Professor Merrick, and my writing improved more in that class than it did in my previous three-and-a-half years at K-State."

Mark Ungerer, director of the Division of Biology, said of Reeves:

"Dr. Reeves provides the highest-quality instruction and has expanded biology online offerings and become involved in leadership of biology's large introductory course as a rotating coordinator. Her students commend her ability to communicate effectively and clearly, her level of care and compassion, and her accessibility and approachability."

Christopher Hargreaves, senior in biology, said of Reeves:

"Dr. Reeves demonstrates an exceptional level of care toward her students. She strives to remember each student's name and frequently engages with them, taking time to learn about them and their goals. She recalls details about students, checking in with questions like, 'How did the immunology exam go?' or 'Did things improve with your family?' She leaves a lasting impact on education by prioritizing the individual, not just as a student."

Michael Higgins, associate professor of statistics, said of Quadros:

"Allan is a strong GTA with countless positive teaching evaluations. He excels at teaching statistical concepts clearly and shows compassion when students have difficulties. Allan has developed invaluable resources he gladly shares with others and created an online book in Portuguese on how to perform data analysis."

Timothy Snyder, senior in operations and supply chain management, said of Quadros:

"Every morning, he would bring a passion and energy to the classroom that genuinely made me interested in what we were learning and how I could apply it to my own life and profession. I credit this course (STAT 325) and his guidance and professionalism with starting me off on the right foot at K-State."

Rachel Levitt, teaching assistant professor in social transformation studies, said of Archer:

"Recognized as a mentor for other advisors, Elli is renowned among her advisees for her supportive, knowledgeable, and accessible approach. Moreover, she actively contributes to campuswide policy improvements and the transformation of Arts and Sciences requirements. I'm blown away by Elli's skill, knowledge, care, availability, dedication to students' needs, remarkable understanding of institutional policies, programs, and procedures, and bespoke approach to developmental advising based on individual student challenges."

Katelyn Wilson, freshman in Spanish and personal financial planning, said of Archer:

"Though Elli has an extremely busy schedule advising so many students, she always has time for me. She goes above and beyond by taking an exceptional personal interest in her many advisees."

Michal Zolkiewski, Tim Bolton and Perla Reyes, heads of the departments of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, physics and statistics, respectively, said of Mooty:

"With solid preparation in STEM research and teaching, Janae is committed to student success in academia. She [is clearly] interested in building high-quality academic advising collegewide and shares her experience with other advisors. Her advisees appreciate her dedication, caring and approachable style, and knowledge of academic regulations. Janae is an outstanding advisor, genuinely committed to helping students achieve their goals."

Alexis Schlieper, 2023 graduate in medical biochemistry with minors in biology and statistics, said of Mooty:

"My success is attributed to Janae thinking not one semester at a time, but years ahead."

Nate Birkhead, head of political science, said of Fliter:

"In his 30 years of service, he has consistently been one of the top instructors in not only the department, but the college and university. He has been recognized by students through multiple honor society awards and by his peers through the Stamey Teaching Award, Presidential Teaching Award and Coffman University Distinguished Teaching Scholar award. Yet he continues to innovate in his pedagogy, develop new courses, search for new or different materials, and help students grasp content in novel ways."

Liz Oltjen, 2023 graduate in political science, said of Fliter:

"Dr. Fliter's thorough feedback on my papers has taught me to think critically over the years. He has consistently challenged me to see political issues from different points of view, and I am a better, more intellectually sophisticated person because of it."

Nancy Muturi, professor of media and communication, said of LaGree:

"She engages her students in innovative, hands-on classroom experiences and goes beyond the classroom in the form of ongoing mentorship for her students and sharing her expertise campuswide. She understands how to motivate and relates to all types of learners."

Kenedi Kelso, senior in mass communications, said of LaGree:

"Dr. LaGree is the most influential educator I have ever had the honor of learning from. Not only does she provide meaningful, thorough lessons and advice to students, she introduces students to out-of-class opportunities that greatly enrich education. Dr. LaGree goes above and beyond the educator playbook by introducing students to successful industry professionals and knowledgeable alumni."

Melinda Cro, associate dean for student success and engagement in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Becky O'Donnell, scheduler and curriculum coordinator for the college, submitted this about Baker:

"Sonya contributes significantly to the smooth operation of academic processes and collaborates with advisors to ensure students meet program requirements. She is a quiet leader, role model and dedicated team member with a strong work ethic. She is an unofficial mentor who truly wants to see every individual succeed. A true servant-leader, she is dedicated to helping and supporting our students while ensuring the academic rigor of our programs. She wants our college to grow and thrive and is a shining example of K-State's best."

Read more about the awards.