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News & Events

Four graduate students receive teaching and mentoring scholarship awards

Four professional headshots of the teaching and mentoring scholarship award winners.

Each year, the School of Human Ecology recognizes graduate students with scholarship awards in outstanding teaching and mentoring.

The Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Award recognizes graduate students who work to be excellent and equitable educators. The Graduate Student as Mentor Award recognizes exemplary mentoring by graduate students who provide guidance to individuals who are either novices in or have less experience in a particular area.

We are grateful for the passion, patience and care that this year’s recipients embody every day in their classrooms, in their graduate programs and departments and through their research. Congratulations to all of the recipients! Learn about each of them below and why they were nominated:

Portrait of Akarshik Banerjee in Nancy Nicholas Hall.Akarshik Banerjee – Teaching Excellence Award

PhD Human Ecology: Consumer Behavior and Family Economics
Courses taught: CS 477: The Consumer & the Market and CS 301: Consumer Analytics

“Akarshik’s commitment to teaching excellence, innovation and responsiveness to students’ needs made him a stand-out candidate. Akarshik demonstrates industriousness in his thoughtful selection of problem sets and articles, finding creative ways to use current themes prevalent in media to ensure better student learning.

For example, he suggested making one of the in-class learning games ‘Squid Games’ themed, which became very popular among students. He also shows dedication to ensuring that students understood the concepts taught in class by leaving helpful comments.” – Assistant Professor Lydia Ashton


Portrait of Cristin Sutliff, a white woman smiling, with medium-length dark hair, wearing a brown button-up and dark jeans.Cristin Sutliff – Teaching Excellence Award

PhD Human Ecology: Consumer Behavior and Family Economics
Courses taught: CS 275: Consumer Finance and CS 257: Introduction to Retail

“Cristin utilizes technology to engage a classroom of 120 freshman and sophomore students early in the morning while advancing their knowledge and understanding of current events in the retail industry.

Cristin owns and manages the current event discussion during the CS 257: Introduction to Retail course. Each week, she scours the retail industry news and selects 10 relevant current events to pose questions about with students. Cristin then voices additional commentary and prompts discussion among the students while connecting the topics to the course content.” – Teaching Professor Nancy Murray


Professional portrait of Heather Kohlmeier in front of a decorative window with bright colored glass circles and curved lines.Heather Kohlmeier – Teaching Excellence Award

MFA Human Ecology: Design Studies
Courses taught: DS 451: Color Theory and Technology, DS 561: Textiles: Specifications and End Use Analysis, DS 251: Textile Science and DS 153: Sewn Construction

“Heather is a creative, talented and dedicated teaching assistant. Students enjoy working with her because she makes the classroom learning environment highly stimulating for both students and herself.

One of Heather’s strengths as an educator is working with and finding meaningful accommodations that support student learning when teaching students with anxiety.” – Rothermel Bascom Professor Majid Sarmadi


Portrait of Quinn Kinzer, a smiling white woman with brown, wavy hair, white shirt and gold jewelry.Quinn Kinzer – Mentor Award

PhD Human Ecology: Consumer Behavior and Family Economics

“Quinn’s guidance, kindness and willingness to support students and peers have provided a sense of ease and a feeling of inclusivity to the Consumer Behavior and Family Economics program. As a passionate, dedicated researcher, Quinn leads with a desire to help all students, not just her own.

She makes students feel welcome and encouraged to get involved early, reach out to faculty and think about research ideas. She offers to answer questions about the program and provide resources for success.” – PhD student Alison Berube