Seven from School of Education win Teaching Assistant Awards

The 2023-24 Teaching Assistant Awards have been announced, and among the 31 honorees are seven exceptional graduate students from the School of Education.

UW–Madison employs over 2,300 teaching assistants (TAs) across a wide range of disciplines. Their contributions to the classroom, lab, and field are essential to the university’s educational mission. To recognize the excellence of TAs across campus, the Graduate School, the College of Letters & Science (L&S), and the Morgridge Center for Public Service sponsor these annual awards.

The School of Education graduate students who are being recognized for their strengths and commitment surrounding the craft of teaching are as follows: 

Bri Buhr
Counseling Psychology (Excellence in Community Based Learning Teaching Award)


Buhr is a graduate student in the final semester of the Counseling Psychology master’s program and is completing their internship at University Health Services’ Mental Health Services.

“I enjoy facilitating an environment where students can explore relationships with themselves and each other, particularly related to how they navigate identity and power,” Buhr says. “I also enjoy using creativity and the arts to create opportunities for students to practice thinking and interacting differently.”

Maxwell Greenberg
Educational Policy Studies (Early Excellence in Teaching Award)


Greenberg is specializing in the history of education, with a dissertation looking at the education organization Junior Achievement and how it reflected and refracted the myriad socio-political changes that took place between 1916 and the 1980s in the United States.

“Teaching at UW–Madison has pushed me to further refine my pedagogical approaches and philosophy of teaching,” he says. “In the classroom, I try to reinforce the idea that there are no ‘correct’ answers in history, and that all interpretations of a text further our collective understanding.”

Noah Karvelis
Curriculum and Instruction (Advanced Achievement in Teaching Award)


Karvelis has taught courses on the Cultural Foundations of Learning and Development and on the Critical Aspects of Teaching, Learning, and Schooling. 

“In particular, I focus on helping my students cultivate an ability to think critically about schools and the work of education as they become teachers who understand the important issues and inequities that schools face. Then, we work to develop forms of teaching that respond to these issues, developing responsive practices that are grounded in centering our students and communities,” he says.

Morgan Mayer-Jochimsen
Educational Policy Studies (Advanced Achievement in Teaching Award)


Mayer-Jochimsen studies educational equity in relation to race and well-being. Her dissertation research centers young people’s perspectives on student wellness in educational policy and current contexts.

“It is the greatest honor and joy to facilitate learning communities for UW students,” she says. “Building community requires caring for students in their wholeness. By this I mean creating a community in which we know each other as containing multitudes, including multiple identities, not only the identity of the student.”

Cindy Perez
Curriculum and Instruction (Early Excellence in Teaching Award)


Perez’s research interests regard Latinx, bilingual learners in Spanish language and literacy classrooms. Her thesis analyzes students’ experiences and voice in the classroom when the language of instruction is primarily in Spanish.

As an instructor, teaching future teachers is an immense responsibility that I treated with great care,” Perez says. “I found that ‘keeping it real’ as an approach was supportive for students’ learning. By ‘keeping it real’, it meant that theory would always be grounded as much as possible to real world applications. Learning theories serve very little if not brought to life.”

Camille Williams
Counseling Psychology (Advanced Achievement in Teaching Award)


Williams’ research focuses on the psychosocial trait of empathy and how we can utilize digital interventions to enhance empathic capacity in adults. She is also a clinician in training, specializing in women’s mental health and the supervision of student therapists.

“I hope to model for students that accomplishing one’s goals in the field of psychology or any profession is a real possibility, and to shed light on concrete steps to make that happen,” she says.

Yuxiang Zhu
Curriculum and Instruction (Capstone Teaching Award)


Zho’s area of interest concerns teacher education in the era of globalization. More specifically, his research involves exploring ways to foster critical cosmopolitanism for language teachers around the world.

Zhu says: “The only way for our teaching candidates to believe in social justice and teach critically, in my opinion, is when their instructors can let them experience what equity and justice feel like: to feel acknowledged, respected, and loved. The same way we want their future students to feel when they become teachers.”

Learn more about the TA Award winners from the School of Education and across UW–Madison.

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