The UGA Center for Teaching and Learning recognizes graduate students annually for their significant contributions to instruction at the university. This year, three College of Veterinary Medicine teaching assistants were recognized.
Ahmed Hikal and Madelyn Krunkosky were awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award. This award is presented to the top 10% of teaching assistants in the classroom and laboratory. Nominees for this award are selected by the individual departments.
Hikal is a PhD student working with Russel Karls, research scientist in the department of infectious diseases. Together, they study Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria which causes tuberculosis in humans.
Hikal has taught two semesters of the Principles of Biology, teaching students basic lab skills and concepts of biology—as well as how to handle DNA and other genetic material. Hikal is passionate about his research and strives to be an effective communicator of his findings. This has translated perfectly into his teaching, where his students have reacted well to his personal didactic abilities. “I love science, and I love the details of it all,” Hikal explains. “And I enjoy sharing this with students and with people interested in my research.”
Krunkosky is in her third year of comparative biomedical science doctoral studies and is a Triple Dawg having earned her undergraduate and master of science degrees from the university as well. Working in the Tompkins lab, Krunkosky is researching the pandemic potential of influenza viruses that affect swine.
Krunkosky has acted as a TA for over two years now, beginning with Veterinary Immunology, teaching students how to perform blood smear analyses, run rapid antigen tests, and identify various immune cell types. For the past two years, she has taught Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology for undergraduate students. Krunkosky is very active in the education of her students, developing mini-practical exams for students and holding weekly review sessions. She also takes an active role in connecting her pre-med students with mentors working in their selected career paths.
Josephine Bou Dagher was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award (ETA). Students nominated for this award must have previously received or be currently nominated for the OTA—Bou Dagher received the award in 2019—representing the top 1% of TAs at UGA. Bou Dagher is a PhD candidate in neuroscience working under the supervision of Sheba MohanKumar, associate professor of veterinary biosciences and diagnostic imaging, and Philip Holmes, professor in the behavioral and brain sciences program. Her research focuses on the prenatal programming effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals and the metabolic consequences in adulthood.
Bou Dagher has taught three courses: Sensation and Perception, Anatomy & Physiology II, and Psychopharmacology. Bou Dagher is committed to making learning fun and creating a student-centered experience. On teaching, she says, “Teaching is about learning how to ask the right questions and engage students, to spark brains that can change the world, to let the students’ thoughts emerge, and to raise generations that can make a difference.”