GSICs Bios

Resource Title:
Graduate Student Instructional Consultants (GSICs)

 

GSIC Biography
Matthew Alemu

Matthew Alemu
Sociology and Public Policy

mwalemu@umich.edu

Matthew Alemu is a PhD candidate in the joint doctoral program in the Department of Sociology and the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy. His dissertation examines the influence that growing up with an absent father has on the way that young black men make sense of the world. His general research interests include Black Men, Race Relations and Cultural Sociology. Matthew has served in multiple teaching capacities during graduate school. He has served as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) in Sociology for 5 semesters. During the 2018-2019 academic year he served as the Sociology Department’s Graduate Student Mentor (GSM) where he advised and providing teaching consultation to nearly 20 first-time GSIs. Lastly he has served as a Lead Instructor in Sociology during the Spring 2016(Race & Ethnicity)  and Summer 2018 (Research Methods) academic semesters. Matthew previously earned a B.S. in accounting at Xavier University of Louisiana and an MPP from the Ford School. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wonderful ladies of his life which include his wife, infant daughter and an overly energetic dog. He also enjoys cooking, listening to music, going to the gym and creating very random side projects.

Finn Bell

Finn Bell 
Social Work & Sociology

stephbel@umich.edu

Finn Bell is a PhD candidate in social work and sociology at the University of Michigan. He received a masters in social work (MSW) from the University of Denver and a BA in English from the University of Iowa. His research interests are environmental justice, agriculture, community-led social change, and climate change. At the University of Michigan, Finn has taught graduate students in social work and undergraduates in sociology, including designing and teaching his own upper-level sociology course on environmental justice. He also teaches in the continuing education program at U-M’s School of Social Work. Prior to starting the PhD program, Finn taught as a lecturer in the graduate social work programs at the University of Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver. As a social worker, Finn worked as an outreach worker to homeless youth, a community organizer, and the director of a small non-profit. As a former college drop-out and a person with a learning disability, Finn is passionate about inclusive teaching and liberationist pedagogy.

Katherine Beydler

Katherine Beydler 
Classical Studies

kbeydler@umich.edu

Katherine Beydler is a Ph.D. candidate in Classical Studies at the University of Michigan. She received a B.S. in Plant Biology and B.A. in Classical Languages from the University of Iowa in 2014. Her main interests are the environmental and agricultural history of central Italy from both archaeological and textual perspectives; she is also interested in the interface between ancient medical practice and agricultural life. Her dissertation examines Roman literary accounts of early agriculture and landscape development in combination with archaeological evidence. She has worked as GSI in Classical Studies for three years, and teaches at a archaeological field school in Italy over the summer. Katherine enjoys incorporating material culture into all of her classrooms.

Dom Bouavichith

Dom Bouavichith 
Linguistics

dombouav@umich.edu

Dom Bouavichith is a PhD candidate in the Linguistics Department. His research interests involve the effect of social identity on speech perception, which has informed much of his teaching. Dom is passionate about teaching linguistics and how speech can interact with discrimination. At Michigan, he has been a GSI for six courses, including an upper-level course that he designed and taught as Instructor of Record. He also served as the Graduate Student Mentor for the Linguistics Department during the 2017-18 academic year. Dom has facilitated CRLT workshops on Instructive Technology, Teaching Discussion Sections, and Handling Office Hours at (E)GSITO. Before coming to Michigan, Dom completed a BA in Linguistics and French and an MA in French Studies at New York University. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, camping and hiking, hosting bar trivia, and binge-watching television.

Christina Costa

Christina Costa
Psychology 

naegeli@umich.edu

Christina is a PhD Candidate in Psychology. Her research interests include teacher resilience and well-being. Her dissertation research uses qualitative methods to understand how teachers thrive in the workplace.  Before coming to the University of Michigan, she was a middle school teacher in Detroit, Michigan. Christina has served as a graduate student instructor for Introduction to Psychology and Developmental Research Methods. She also teaches an Introduction to Psychology course over the summer for middle school and high school students. In her free time, she likes reading and drinking coffee at Literati and playing with her bulldog.

Jathan Day

Jathan Day 
English and Education

jedayak@umich.edu

Jathan Day is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English and Education. Jathan also serves as the incoming Graduate Administrative and Editorial Associate for the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative in the Sweetland Center for Writing. He received a BA in English Literature and Languages (Japanese) and an MA in English from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Jathan has experience teaching preparatory writing, first-year composition, technical writing, science writing, and persuasive writing. His current research interests include course management systems, digital literacies, online pedagogy, social annotation, disability studies, and reading practices. Jathan's dissertation examines how writing instructors’ pedagogies and design decisions in Canvas affect the way in which students engage with it through their writing and learning.

Domenic DeSocio

Domenic DeSocio
Germanic Languages & Literatures

ddesocio@umich.edu

Domenic DeSocio is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. He earned a dual B.A. in German Studies and History at Columbia University. His dissertation studies the relationship between time, gender, and sexuality in German modernist literature and the ways in which those three forces construct and destruct the modern subject. At the University of Michigan, Domenic has taught several courses: three discussion sections for a large lecture on fairy tales and three semesters of the German language sequence, including one course he created himself as instructor of record: Queer German Cultures. To further enhance his pedagogy, he is currently completing the Rackham Graduate Teacher Certificate. In his free time, Domenic enjoys learning French and playing with his new puppy, Helen.

Emily Gauld

Emily Gauld 
Germanic Languages and Literature

ejgauld@umich.edu

Emily Gauld is a PhD candidate in German Studies. She received a BA in Music and German as well as an MA in German Literature from the University of Georgia. Her dissertation engages her background in both music and literature by looking at literary representations of women in music in nineteenth-century Germany to consider how musical life at this time contributed to constructions of gendered and national identity. Emily has spent time as a language teaching assistant for students of English in Germany and taught as the instructor of record for German language classes during her MA. At Michigan, she has taught all four semesters of the beginning language sequence in the German department, including a course which she designed completely: Introduction to German Opera. In her free time, Emily enjoys playing French horn in a community band, working with the graduate student labor union, and spoiling her cat.

Samantha Hahn

Samantha Hahn
Nutritional Sciences

hahnsam@umich.edu

Samantha Hahn, MPH, RD is a PhD candidate in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She completed a dual major B.S. degree in Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences at Michigan State University. Since entering the nutritional sciences doctoral program, Samantha has completed a Master of Public Health in Nutritional Sciences and become a Registered Dietitian. She is interested in eating disorder prevention and the unintended consequences of public health efforts to prevent and treat overweight/obesity. Her dissertation focuses on the use of weight-related self-monitoring, such as calorie counting or physical activity tracking, and how it impacts eating disorder risk among college students. In the past she has been a Graduate Student Instructor for undergraduate and graduate level courses in both general public health as well as nutrition specific courses. In addition, Samantha has completing the Graduate Student Teachers Certificate and has taken a graduate level course titled Teaching in Public Health. In her free time, Samantha enjoys spending time on the water and playing with her dogs.

Tugce Kayaal

Tugce Kayaal
Middle East Studies

tkayaal@umich.edu

Tugce Kayaal is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Middle East Studies Department, Turkish and Armenian Studies Programs. Kayaal is also a Graduate Student in Women’s Studies Certificate Program at the same university. She received her BA from Marmara University (Istanbul, Turkey) in Political Science and International Relations. She received two MA degrees, one from Sabancı University (Istanbul, Turkey) in History and the other from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor-Near Eastern Studies. Last year, Kayaal was an A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Student Fellow at the Insitute for the Humanities. This year, she published an article title “Breastfeeding: Ottoman Empire” in the Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures and her new article on male-male cross-generational sexual practices in the Late Ottoman Empire is coming out in Historical Reflections. Currently, she is writing her dissertation on war orphans and youth sexuality in the late Ottoman Empire (1912-23).

Glenn Leung

Gle (Glenn) Leung
Physics

lhofai@umich.edu

Gle (Glenn) Leung is a PhD student in Physics. His research involves the study of quasi-particles known as exciton-polaritons using various optical techniques. Glenn graduated from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore with a BSc in Physics before coming to the University of Michigan. He has taught tutorial sections in his undergraduate alma matter, as well as introductory and intermediate physics lab in the U of M. It was here in the U of M that he developed an interest in physics education research (PER), and took part in the development of computational activities for the introductory physics labs using evidence-based design. He has also been involved in other initiatives in the physics department, such as the development of a guide for new GSIs for an introductory physics lab, and a physics pedagogy reading group, a journal club focused on PER. In his free time, Glenn enjoys reading and writing science fiction and cosmic horror short stories and flash fiction.

Kwan Leung

Kwan Leung
Chemistry

kwanle@umich.edu

Kwan is a PhD candidate in Chemistry conducting research in electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide to fuels. She had been a GSI for general chemistry for 7 semesters and a GSM for 4 semesters, and is passionate about course development and GSI training in general chemistry. In addition to teaching at Michigan, as a Science Communication Fellow of the U-M Museum of Natural History, Kwan is also interested in science communication and increasing public engagement of scientific research. Before coming to Michigan, Kwan earned her B.S. at the Ohio State University. During her free time, she enjoys drawing, running, and hanging out with cats.

Naitnaphit Limlamai

Naitnaphit Limlamai 
English and Education

limlamai@umich.edu

Naitnaphit Limlamai is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English and Education. Her current research explores high school English methodology with a focus on curriculum, instruction, and social justice education. Before coming to Michigan, Naitnaphit was a high school English teacher in Florida, Georgia, and New York. Naitnaphit earned her BA from Boston College, where she studied human development and philosophy. She completed the Alliance for Catholic Education program to earn her M. Ed from the University of Notre Dame. At UM she has taught in the English Department Writing Program and is a research assistant in the Sweetland Center for Writing. In her free time, Naitnaphit reads, watches Netflix, cooks, Instagrams about Ann Arbor food, and eats!

Rebecca Marks

Rebecca Marks
Education and Psychology

marksre@umich.edu

Rebecca is a PhD candidate in the Combined Program in Education & Psychology. Her research focuses on how children’s brain development for spoken language processing lays the foundations for learning to read. At UM, she has taught as a GSI in the Department of Psychology twice, and as the instructor of record in the School of Education three times, teaching both undergraduate and masters students. In her free time, she also directs the GradTONES, UM’s graduate student a cappella group, and takes naps with her extremely lazy labradoodle. 

Sarah McKellar

Sarah McKellar 
Education and Psychology

smckella@umich.edu

Sarah McKellar is a PhD candidate in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology. Her research focuses on understanding how school context and social interactions within classrooms shape adolescent achievement motivation and engagement. She has taught as a graduate student instructor for six terms in both the department of psychology and in the school of education, with four terms the lead instructor for human development and educational psychology. Before coming to Michigan, Sarah began her career as high school teacher in California and subsequently worked to improve STEM programming as part of UChicago STEM Education's research and evaluation team. When she’s not researching or teaching, she enjoys frolicking outdoors, hanging out with her dog, and fitness; feel free to check out her fitness class "Strong by Zumba" via Michigan’s Group-X.

Jillian Myers

Jillian Myers 
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

jimyers@umich.edu

Jill is a PhD Candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department researching the coevolution of fungi and their viruses.  She has served as a GSI in the Honors Program and Program in Biology, and as the instructor of record in the English Department Writing Program.  Jill earned a BS from James Madison University by way of community college in rural Virginia.  She gets fired up about interdisciplinary teaching and learning, prison reform, mushrooms, and halfway through a run.  

Casey Otemuylwa

Casey Otemuyiwa
English and Education

cotemuyi@umich.edu

Casey Otemuyiwa is a Ph. D. candidate in the Joint Program in English and Education. She has served as a GSI instructor of record for six terms, teaching courses for undergraduates in the English Department Writing Program and courses for both undergraduate and graduate students in the Teacher Education program. Her current research focuses on college composition pedagogy and linguistically diverse students. Prior to coming to Michigan, Casey spent six years teaching middle school English in the St. Louis area. She holds a BA in English and an MA in education from Truman State University, an M. Ed. with a TESOL focus from the University of Missouri, and National Board Teaching Certification.  In addition to working with other teachers, she enjoys relaxing outside and doing jigsaw puzzles with her two small kids. 

Becca Pickus

Becca Pickus
Social Work

rpickus@umich.edu

Becca Pickus is a lecturer in the Residential College Social Theory and Practice Program, where she teaches courses in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), as well as the occasional first-year writing seminar. Becca received her MSW from the UM School of Social Work in 2015, where she focused on trauma, grief and loss, and trauma-informed education. As a graduate student, she was a GSI in the Psychology, Communication, and English Departments, and is excited to begin her fifth year as a GSIC. 

 

Jennifer Pollard
Education

jrpollar@umich.edu

Jennifer Pollard is a doctoral student in Higher Education (Academic Affairs and Student Development track) with interests in teaching and learning in higher education. Her previous studies were undertaken at McGill University, Montreal, where she attained the B.A. in Psychology and the M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology. Prior to her transition to U-M, she served as a career counselor and student services' generalist at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. In this capacity, among other duties, she planned and facilitated workshops on areas of personal, academic and career development. During her time at U-M, she has been involved in the M-STEM program evaluation and other projects that have a bearing on teaching and learning. She is currently in her fifth run as a GSI in the Psychology Department and this past summer, she served as an instructor for CSP-100 in the Comprehensive Studies Summer Bridge Program. Jennifer loves Jazz and is the creator and administrator of the liftingupa2jazz Facebook group and mailing group.  

Zach Schudson

Zach Schudson
Psychology & Women's Studies

schudson@umich.edu

Zach Schudson is a PhD candidate in the joint program in Psychology and Women’s Studies. He received his BA in Neuroscience and Gender and Women's Studies from Pomona College. His research examines how people's beliefs about social categories affect their self-concepts and perceptions of others, with a focus on gender and sexual diversity. Zach has served as a GSI for six terms in Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Sociology courses, including two terms teaching a self-designed course entitled Psychology of Gender and Sexual Diversity. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, playing videogames, and both listening to and talking about pop music.

Pinar Ustel

Pinar Ustel
Social Work

pinarus@umich.edu

Pinar Ustel is a PhD candidate in Social Work and Sociology. Her research interests center around the construction of lay expertise in the field of mental health. Before coming to Michigan, she has received an MA in Cultural Studies from Sabanci University, Istanbul, where she has also worked as a Teaching Assistant for two years. At Michigan, she has served as a Graduate Student Instructor for four semesters, teaching undergraduate-level sociology courses including Introduction to Sociology, Social Movements, and Criminology. In her free time, she likes watching movies, reading movie magazines, and updating her ever-growing watchlist.

Elizabeth Tacke

Elizabeth Tacke
English Language & Literature

etacke@umich.edu

Elizabeth Tacke is a Ph.D. candidate in the Joint Program in English and Education. Her research interests are situated within disability studies, rhetoric, and life writing, and her dissertation explores how women navigate disability and trauma disclosure. In her teaching, Elizabeth is invested in accessible and inclusive teaching practices. Before coming to Ann Arbor, Elizabeth was a middle school English teacher in California. She received her M.A. and teaching credential from Seattle Pacific University and her B.A. in English Literature from New York University. At Michigan, Elizabeth has taught upper and lower level writing courses and graduate level English teaching methods. She also taught a year-long writing course at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Center through Eastern Michigan University and has facilitated improv workshops at Cooper St. Correctional in Jackson for four years. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys Netflix, “fun” books, and hanging out with her two cats. 

Lisa Walsh

Lisa Walsh
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

llwalsh@umich.edu

Lisa is a PhD candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department. Her research aims to uncover the drivers promoting mammal range expansions in the face of climate change and anthropogenic forces. Lisa has served as a Graduate Student Instructor for ten semesters at Michigan, teaching Introduction to Biology Lab, Introduction to Biology (Evolution and Ecology), Introduction to Genetics, and Biology of Mammals. In her most recent teaching assignment, Lisa developed three-hour lab activities to engage students with museum specimens. Lisa earned her BA in Biology and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College and an MS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan. In her free time, Lisa runs, ice skates, and enjoys bad taxidermy.

Field Watts

Field Watts
Chemistry

fieldmw@umich.edu

Field Watts is a PhD student in the Chemistry Department with a focus on discipline-based education research. His interests are centered around developing a better understanding of how students learn organic chemistry, with a focus on leveraging writing to promote learning. His current research involves textual analysis of students’ writing to investigate how students reason through organic reaction mechanisms. Field is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and has served as a Graduate Student Instructor for the organic chemistry sequence at the University of Michigan. He also worked as a writing consultant and taught laboratory sections for both general and organic chemistry as an undergraduate. He earned dual BS degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics at Oklahoma State University, where he was also involved with research in organic chemistry and inclusive writing center pedagogies. In his free time, he enjoys reading, long-distance running, and petting his cat Budders.

Esther Witte

Esther Witte
English Language and Literature

egwitte@umich.edu

Esther Witte is a PhD Candidate in English Language and Literature. They are working on an experimental dissertation about how to use reflective writing (e.g., journaling) to transform composition pedagogy by centering the values of racial, disability, and gender justice. Esther has taught three semesters of first-year writing, and they have also served as a GSI for four lecture courses in English: Disability and Neurodiversity, Cultural Rhetorics, Hitchcock’s Cinema, and The Road Trip in American Literature. In addition to teaching, they have served as Graduate Student Mentor to the GSIs of the English Department Writing Program (2015-16). Esther's favorite things include: notebooks and gel pens, de-gendering language, accessible public transportation, talking to teachers about teaching, and old cats with weird personalities.

 

Sarah Zelner
Sociology

szeiner@umich.edu

Sarah is a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in the Dept. of Sociology at UM. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University, and an AB in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College. Sarah is an urban ethnographer, with a special interest in how communities negotiate practices of inclusion and manage perceived threats to inclusion. Here at UM, she has taught courses in urban inequality at the 100, 200, and 300 levels, ranging from 25-75 students. She has also worked on updating GSI training within the Sociology department to better address the needs of undergraduates and their graduate instructors. Before graduate school, Sarah trained teachers to teach health education and taught English literature as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. Sarah is passionate about the practice of student-instructor collaboration in course design and assessment, and works to reveal how this practice empowers and enhances learning for both students and instructors.