Center for Teaching Graduate Fellows

Graduate teaching fellows are experienced graduate student instructors who collaborate with Center for Teaching staff members to learn the fundamentals of workshop design. They will practice these skills through the development of a workshop for the Center for Teaching alongside a teaching project that deepens their knowledge of a pedagogical area that is of high interest to them and their career goals. Each fellow will also critically reflect on their professional development and recent pedagogy as well as create a set of goals and an action plan for their future professional development.

Fellows receive $500 for successful completion of each semester of the program, totaling $1,000. Fellows meet once in May before the summer then meet regularly starting in August until the program ends the following May. 

Applications for the 2019–2020 academic year are now closed. Please check back in spring 2020. 


Meet the Current 2018–2019 Graduate Teaching Fellows


Elias Hasenecz
Elias Hasenecz, Chemistry Department

Elias Hasenecz is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Iowa. Prior to coming to Iowa, he earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with honors from Moravian College. His research involves understanding the selective transfer of carbohydrates from the ocean surface to sea spray aerosol, or tiny liquid and solid particles emitted from ocean wave breaking, which has important implications on climate relevant aerosol properties. Elias has served as a teaching assistant and tutor in the chemistry departments of both the University of Iowa and Moravian College.


Alejandro Perez
Alejandro Perez, Teaching and Learning Department (Foreign Language & ESL Education)

Alejandro Perez is a second-year PhD student in the Teaching and Learning Department at the University of Iowa. He completed a master's in teaching Spanish as a second language (in Spain) and a master's in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Iowa. Alejandro also worked as a dual language teacher for three years, and now he works in different support projects regarding dual language dducation in Iowa. As a graduate student, Alejandro also complemented his student role with his responsibilities as a Spanish language teacher assistant for six semesters and as a Spanish department level supervisor for two semesters.


Hassan Rafique
Hassan Rafique, Mathematics Department

Hassan Rafique is a fourth-year PhD student in the Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences program at the University of Iowa. He earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics at Western Illinois University (WIU) and a bachelor's degree in mathematics at Lahore University of Management Sciences. His research work is in non-convex continuous optimization with application in machine learning and operations research. He also has a keen interest in math education, particularly in improving teaching practices at introductory level undergraduate math classes. He has been a teaching assistant for undergraduate classes at the University of Iowa for three years now.


Megan Lorenz
Megan Lorenz, Psychology Department

Megan Lorenz is a seventh-year psychology PhD candidate in the Developmental Science program in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS). Under the supervision of Dr. Jodie Plumert, her primary research explores how memory for and the ability to communicate about spatial location develops in early childhood. She has been a teaching assistant and guest lecturer for undergraduate classes offered by the PBS department and currently teaches psychology courses to undergraduates at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.

Applicant Requirements

  • Terminal degree student in a UI program
  • Significant TA and/or teaching experience
    • You do not have to be a current TA to apply
  • Reflective instructor
  • Strong communication skills
  • Able to commit five to 10 hours per month toward program objectives through May 2020

Fellow Responsibilities

  • Attend a reception hosted by the Center for Teaching in May 2019.
  • Attend bi-weekly meetings (starting in August) with the other fellows. At these meetings, the group will:
    • Provide mentorship to each other on upcoming workshops
    • Share teaching strategies
    • Discuss and reflect upon one pedagogy text per semester
  • Implement a workshop for the Center for Teaching
  • Design a project that deepens their knowledge of a pedagogical area that is of high interest to them and their career goals. This can include implementing an additional workshop for their department, compiling an annotated bibliography, etc.
  • Meet with a Center for Teaching staff individually at least once before their workshop to discuss plans of action.
  • Write a critical reflection on their workshop experience and meet with a Center for Teaching staff member to discuss opportunities for growth.
  • Write one blog post on teaching and learning per semester to strengthen pedagogical knowledge and practice communication skills.
  • Attend a goal-setting session with Office of Teaching, Learning &Technology staff and draft goals for future teaching and professional development.
  • Meet with a Center for Teaching staff member at the end of the fellowship year to discuss goals and create and action plan for future professional development.


  • Enhance teaching and leadership skills.
  • Prepare for the job market.
  • Build connections with graduate students from different disciplines.
  • Connect with faculty and administrators in different departments and organizations on campus.
  • Gain insight about the role and impact of teaching centers in higher education.

For more information about the fellows program, contact the Center for Teaching


 2017–2018 Graduate Teaching Fellows


Brady Krien, English Department

Brady Krien profile picture

Brady Krien is a second-year PhD student in the English Department at the University of Iowa. He completed a master’s degree in English literature at Marquette University and earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and economics at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Brady’s research interests include 19th and 20th century American environmental literature and the digital humanities. Brady currently teaches general education rhetoric courses and tutors students in the University Writing Center.

Department Workshop:

Brady's departmental workshop Cyber-Citation: Teaching and Modeling Digital Attribution offered instructors in the rhetoric department ideas and strategies for teaching students the basic principles of citation and how to begin to think about applying those principles to digital and multi-modal work.

Center Workshop:

For his main Center for Teaching workshop, Brady facilitated a workshop titled Re-energizing your Classroom Using Active Learning Strategies in March 2018. This workshop offered concrete active learning strategies for engaging and focusing students during the doldrums of the semester.

Capstone Project:

For his capstone project, Brady is doing research on graduate student teaching. His focus is on the various means through which graduate students develop their teaching abilities and how various barriers such as level of experience and degree requirements limit the effectiveness of graduate instructional development.

Thoughts on being a fellow:

“This experience has given me a much deeper understanding of my own instructional development and has helped me to gain a much broader understanding of how graduate students can hone their teaching and the resources available to them here at the University of Iowa.”


Tanja Roembke, Psychology Department

Tanja Roembke profile picture

Tanja Roembke is a fifth-year Psychology PhD candidate in the Cognition and Perception program in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS). She came to the University of Iowa as a Fulbright Exchange Scholar from Germany in 2012. Under the supervision of Dr. Bob McMurray, her primary research explores how associative mechanisms contribute to children’s and adults’ word learning. She has been a teaching assistant for undergraduate classes offered by the PBS department as well as a guest lecturer/ adjunct in the Department of Physical Therapy and Recreation Sciences.

Department Project:

Tanja conducted a questionnaire to gage interest in different topic areas in her department and, as a result, will lead a workshop on how to integrate primary research in teaching. The workshop will include several strategies on how to facilitate the discussion of primary research in psychology and how to best overcome common barriers to its inclusion.

Center Workshop:

For her main Center for Teaching workshop, Tanja facilitated a workshop titled Creating an Inclusive and Universal Classroom in September 2017. During the workshop, participants identified factors and strategies to consider when designing course material in order to create a welcoming and inclusive classroom for all.

Capstone Project:

Eric and Tanja are working with Morgan Iommi to learn the fundamentals of the backward course design process through multiple workshops and developed a proposed syllabi for a class they may want to teach in the future. Additionally, the pair gave feedback on the development of a similar course design training that could be scaled for graduate students across campus.

Thoughts on being a fellow:

“I learned a lot from the opportunity to teach “teaching” as part of leading workshops, and it made me a lot more mindful and confident in the choices that I make as a teacher."


Eric Emmons, Neuroscience Program

Eric Emmons profile picture

Eric Emmons is a fifth-year student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience. He studies the way time is processed in the brain by recording the electrical activity of neurons during tasks that require attention to time. In addition to work in lab, Eric has served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Iowa. He has also taught outside of the University of Iowa as an English instructor in Ecuador and an adjunct instructor at Cornell College.

Department Project:

Eric’s workshop Teaching Opportunities at and around Iowa was designed for his colleagues in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience. As a primarily research-oriented graduate program, neuroscience students don’t have very much exposure to teaching. The goal of the workshop was to educate students on the different teaching experiences available at the University of Iowa and institutions in the area.

Center Workshop:

For his main Center for Teaching workshop, Eric facilitated a workshop titled Using Primary Research in the Classroom in February 2018. During the workshop, participants explored strategies to create a stronger link between primary research and their course content to facilitate deeper student learning.

Capstone Project:

Eric and Tanja are working with Morgan Iommi to learn the fundamentals of the backward course design process through multiple workshops and developed a proposed syllabi for a class they may want to teach in the future. Additionally, the pair gave feedback on the development of a similar course design training that could be scaled for graduate students across campus.

Thoughts on being a fellow:

"The Teaching Fellows program gave me a special opportunity to be thoughtful about teaching and pedagogy for an entire year! I don’t get many opportunities to focus on teaching in my scientific, lab-based graduate program. Working with the Center for Teaching and the other Fellows provided me with a diverse set of teaching experiences that I’ll be able to incorporate into my academic career."


2016–2017 Graduate Teaching Fellows


Ranthony Edmonds, Mathematics Department - STEM fellow

Ranthony Edmonds was a fourth-year in the Department of Mathematics pursuing a PhD in pure mathematics. Her research interests included factorization in commutative rings with zero divisors. She also had interests in math education, particularly with respect to investigating better teaching practices for introductory calculus courses at the University of Iowa. She has been a TA for Math 1340 and 1380 at the University of Iowa and has prior experience as an adjunct instructor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, Kentucky, and as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky University. 

Center for Teaching Workshop:

Ranthony's workshop, "UDL Principles in the College Classroom," introduced participants to the techniques of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). During the workshop, she provided advice and worksheets with information on how to redesign a course that is accessible and accommodating to all learners.

Discipline Specific Project:

Ranthony worked on designing a TA resource network for the Math Department at the University of Iowa. Within the network, TAs in her department will have a central place to share course materials (worksheets, quizzes, review guides, etc.), discuss teaching strategies, and remain privy to important administrative knowledge such as how to facilitate add/drops, report struggling students, deal with midterm scheduling conflicts, and more.

Capstone Project:

Ranthony created a model for a 'partially flipped' classroom which investigated the question, "What is the effect of flipped instruction in a college Trigonometry course?" She implemented this model in spring 2017 as a semester-long Teaching as Research (TAR) project.


Kate Nesbit, English Department - Humanities Fellow

Kate Nesbit was a fourth-year PhD candidate in English at the University of Iowa. Kate studied Victorian literature, and she was interested in listening, as well as recitation, elocution, and reading aloud in the 19th century. Kate taught the University of Iowa's general education rhetoric course for two years, as well as general education literature. She tutored in two writing centers (the Rhetoric Writing Center and the Frank Business Communications Center).

Center for Teaching Workshop:

Kate's workshop, "Serious Fun: Teaching with Play," offered discussion and ideas for incorporating play into an intellectually rigorous, critically-minded classroom. Through experiments in games, competition, and goofiness, participants learned best practices for a playful classroom. Each participant left with a lesson plan, discipline-specific resources for play in the classroom, and ideas for troubleshooting resistant or apathetic students.

Discipline Specific project:

Kate planned, organized, and led a pedagogy idea exchange for all departments housed in the University's English-Philosophy Building. This event, modeled after a holiday cookie exchange, required participants to submit one idea (a lesson plan, an in-class activity, an approach to discussion) in order to attend the exchange, where participants browsed and selected from all participants ideas. Participants came with one idea and left with many.

Capstone project:

Kate designed a website for sharing and promoting her Sounding Shakespeare! project. This interactive, digital assignment asked students to recite and record passages from Shakespearean drama according to the instructions of an 18th or 19th century elocution manual. The website aimed to publicize the project, as well as make the resources available to high school and university instructors teaching Shakespeare.


Meaghan Rowe-Johnson, Counseling Psychology Department - CIRTL Fellow

Meaghan Rowe-Johnson was a fifth-year doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology and an assistant Ddrector for the Iowa Biosciences Academy at the University of Iowa. She obtained her master's degree in community counseling at Loyola University Chicago, and her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She provided outreach services surrounding cultural humility, academic skills improvement, career exploration, body image issues, responding to tragedy in school systems, and stress management through the Iowa Biosciences Academy, the Women’s Resource and Action Center, the Teacher Leader Center, and the University Counseling Service. She served as the primary instructor for multiple courses through the Iowa Biosciences Academy and as a teaching assistant for multiple classes in the Counseling Psychology program. As a result, Meaghan has teaching experience with undergraduate and graduate students across various disciplines, such as psychology, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and biomedical engineering. Her clinical and research interests included career development and vocational aspirations, training and education, issues regarding cross-cultural diversity and social justice, and the effects of trauma.

Center for Teaching Workshop:

Meaghan's teaching center workshop, "Intervening when Microaggressions Happen," included a discussion on the microagressions and macroaggressions that tend to occur in college classrooms and in predominantly white institutions. It also included a discussion on how faculty and TAs can provide a safe and inclusive learning space for all students. Participants practiced various intervention strategies through the use of case studies and role plays. At the end of the workshop, TAs and faculty also received additional resources regarding this topic.

Discipline Specific Project:

Meaghan’s discipline specific workshop included an interactive discussion on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Dr. William Liu's course, Psychotherapy I Dynamic and Phenomenological Approaches: Theories of Change. This workshop encouraged students to practice conceptualizing clients from an ACT framework and engage in an ACT treatment planning process with their peers.

Capstone Project:

Meaghan’s main capstone involved her implementation of a Teaching as Research (TAR) project through the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) programming. She aims to understand the extent to which interventions in her "Applying to Graduate School" course increases students' graduate school application self-efficacy.


Reuben Vyn, Foreign Language and ESL Education Department - Social Science Fellow

Reuben was in his third-year of the Foreign Language and ESL Education PhD program. He received his Master of Arts in French from Portland State University, where he was also a TA of French 1 and 2. He has taught in a variety of other contexts including public elementary and high schools and served as a mentor to student-teachers as well as those new to the profession. His research interests include K-12 teacher development, as well as best practices as they relate to foreign language instructional approaches and classroom teaching techniques.

Center for Teaching workshop:

In his workshop, "Facilitating Engaging Classroom Discussions" Reuben provided various tools, tips, and strategies to more effectively engage students in discussions both in-class and online. He attempted to model best practices in facilitating discussions while also addressing practical aspects such as how to write effective discussion prompts, provide structure for the interaction, and measure student contributions and outcomes.

Discipline-specific project:

Reuben offered two workshops that centered on the design and use of rubrics in assessing student performance in a variety of content areas and levels of instruction. The primary audience for the workshops, hosted in the Teacher Leader Center, were current students in the teacher education program. The first workshop in October 2016 focused on the fundamentals of creating and using rubrics in practice, while the second workshop in January 2017 introduced participants to various online tools that can help facilitate the process.

Capstone project:

Reuben was engaged in two major projects related to the field of program evaluation. He has conducted a mixed methods study evaluating the impact that the Student Instructional Technology Assistant (SITA) program has on the broader teaching and learning community at the University of Iowa. Additionally, Reuben supported program evaluation practitioners at Social Impact by creating a searchable database of current and past evaluation proposals, archiving examples of best practices, and streamlining their efforts to more effectively and efficiently create future proposals.