Lisitte Ann Mora
College of Fine Arts
School of Theatre, Film & Television
Lisitte is a natural leader and serves as an inspiration to all of the BA students. She is exceptionally creative and driven and it is her passion and vision that has made the student written and performed New Directions Festival one of the most important parts of the School of Theatre, Film, and Television.
Lisitte's Full Nomination Letter
Brant Pope, Interim Director of the School of Theatre, Film, & Television says of Lisitte Mora (she/they), “There would be no New Directions Festival without Lisitte Mora. Lisitte is a natural leader and serves as an inspiration to all of the BA students. She is exceptionally creative and driven and it is her passion and vision that has made the student written and performed New Directions Festival one of the most important parts of the School of Theatre, Film, and Television.” On behalf of the faculty of the School of Theatre, Film, & Television, we enthusiastically nominate Lisitte Mora for Outstanding Senior for the School of Theatre, Film, & Television and for the College of Fine Arts. Lisitte Mora’s life, study, and work represent the community engagement, scholarship, innate leadership speak to the true role of Outstanding Senior.
Lisitte didn’t have that early leg up that many students have in advance of coming to us. They did not have a high school theatre program to come to us with the perfect audition. She has pursued her theatre education here with us. Their rock-solid values of equity and inclusion are etched in their life. We believe winning Outstanding Senior will create an early career success for Lisitte to help level that playing field as they graduate into the world. They have given so much to us and we simply want to give back.
Lisitte’s community work remains unparalleled. She volunteers with Community on Wheels, Flowers and Bullets, and Food Not Bombs Tucson. She is part of PAMFA (Production of Art, Music, Film, Acting, Dance), InVisibility (SALON), and University Filmmakers Organization. She is a former counselor for Bear Down Camp. She is a member of The Michael Chekov Association (MICHA). They are the elected VP of EDI for Alpha Chi Omega and the current DEI Chair for Mortar Board. Her role within our school in advancement of DEI cannot be understated. They serve as the BA Student Representative for the TFTV EDI Committee. She attends that committee regularly and advocates for students, but she also addresses her concerns with finesse. They meet faculty where they are at even if they have been doing this deep work for years. I am humbled by her ability to be effective. I see in Lisitte a lifelong advocate for social justice.
She is an outstanding scholar. Lisitte maintains a 4.0 G.P.A. (Dean’s List with Highest Academic Distinction). She is majoring with her BA in Theatre Studies and a minor in Journalism. Last year, she won the top award for the Undergraduate Research Symposium with her scholarship on Ancient African theatre. In 2022, she won the Elisabeth Healy Scholarship in Theatre, and, in 2022, she won a Medici. Good study comes from that inexplicable fusion of intellect, intuition and passion—Lisitte has all three. Whether it be rehearsal or the classroom, Lisitte tunes into a room—listens, questions, and collaborates, treating all her classmates equally. Her professor Roweena Mackay says, “I have watched her navigate some very challenging situations: she is always kind, focused and very organized in the way she approaches complex social scenes, which I believe comes from her keen understanding of performance.”
You may know of Lisitte’s memorable theatrical work from Everybody and Vaud. They are making new work for the New Directions Festival as you read these words taking on the leadership role of the director’s chair. She does not stop. That’s who Lisitte is: they are a collaborator, an artist, a changemaker. When the conversation came up about who to nominate for our Outstanding Senior, our whole area of Theatre Studies looked at one another and uttered one name: Lisitte.
School of Theatre, Film, and Television
Fred Fox School of Music
Gabby is a very enthusiastic and dedicated student who brings an incredible passion for learning, teaching, and service to the Fred Fox School of Music. She is an outstanding educator and leader whose outreach and service contributions to the Fred Fox School of Music, the University of Arizona, and the Tucson musical community cannot be overstated.
Gabby's Full Nomination Letter
To Whom It May Concern,
I am thrilled to be able to nominate Gabriella Cioca for the Outstanding Senior Award. I have known Gabby since the fall of 2019, when I joined the faculty at the University of Arizona and became her applied viola professor. Gabby is a very enthusiastic and dedicated student who brings an incredible passion for learning, teaching, and service to the Fred Fox School of Music. She is an outstanding educator and leader whose outreach and service contributions to the Fred Fox School of Music, the University of Arizona, and the Tucson musical community cannot be overstated. Her perspective and background as a Mexican-American are also a much-needed and valuable contribution to the field of music and music education, especially here in Tucson where she hopes to make her career. Because of her dedication and accomplishments, I can think of no student more deserving of this award than Gabby.
Gabby is a double major in viola performance and music education, as well as an arts administration minor. In addition, she taught in and was the String Project Coordinator for the University of Arizona String Project for four years. She is both the youngest student ever to be selected to teach in the string project, and also the youngest student in the Coordinator position (that position having previously been filled by a doctoral student). That she would be trusted in such an important role as an undergraduate speaks volumes to her work ethic, organizational skills, ability to communicate well with families and students, and her commitment to community service and teaching. Of her work with String Project, director Dr. Ted Buchholz said, “Gabby is the undergraduate student that I hold in the highest esteem. I have enormous respect for her devotion to service, professionalism, and her as a quality person, and have been so proud of her growth as she now enters her final year. Her involvement in String Project has been outstanding. She meticulously coordinates her lesson planning with the students and parents every week. She is supportive, caring, and hardworking and has worked tirelessly, thinking about the best way to make curricular magic – using the methods we have to draw the best out of the students. She is a true leader and role model for the other UArizona student teachers.”
Because of this outstanding work, Gabby was chosen to attend the American String Teachers Association National Conference in March 2022, the largest and most important professional conference for string teachers in the US. Ted Buchholz made this opportunity possible for her, saying, “I worked with a donor to come up with $1600 of funding to enable Gabby’s presence as the American String Teachers Association National Conference. I wouldn’t do this for just any student, and have rarely done this for even a doctoral student. Gabby particularly deserved this effort. At the conference, Gabby was invited to give a presentation, which was nothing short of brilliant. Presentations given by collegiate faculty from across the country paled in comparison to Gabby’s outstanding presence. I heard from many people at ASTA how very impressed they were with her.”
In addition to her stellar service contributions to the String Project, Gabby has also served the Fred Fox School of Music in many other ways. She has been a CFA Ambassador since summer 2020, where she helps new students feel welcome here, and helps inform them about all of the wonderful opportunities available to them in the FFSOM. She was one of two student representatives on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee since in the 2021-2022 academic year and was part of the inaugural group of students on the Student Engagement and Empowerment Committee. The fact that she is a double major with a minor, and still has time to serve in all of these capacities to support students and the CFA community (while keeping up with practicing and schoolwork) is astounding to me. It speaks to her deep commitment to the Fred Fox School of Music and to her musical community.
Gabby has also been recognized for her terrific advocacy for the arts outside of the University of Arizona as well. In the summer of 2021, she worked as the summer music institute intern for the Kennedy Center and in fall 2021, was hired as their social media coordinator, working for them full time in summer 2022. In early 2022, she was also selected, through a competition national application process, to serve on the Youth Advisory Council of the American Viola Society. The YAC is an arm of the American Viola Society Board of Directors made up of student and pre-professional violists from around the country. They determine and lead their own programming for violists on a national level, and also advise the Board of Directors on matters relevant to pre-professional violists. This is a major service position that helps determine the direction of education, programming, outreach, and support for violists throughout the United States.
Since I began my work with Gabby in the fall of 2019, I have also been very impressed with the level of commitment she brings to all of her lessons. Each week, she arrives with her music festooned with sticky notes: spots where she needs help in knowing how to practice most effectively, sections that she wants to make sure play for me so I can gauge her progress from the last lesson, or areas of difficulty that she isn’t sure how to address. She is always striving to improve not only her musicianship, but also her learning process. This organized and proactive approach to her practicing and improvement is rare in undergraduates in my experience, and is a testament to Gabby’s commitment to her education. This devotion to her craft is also evident in the high level of playing she shows in solo, chamber music, and orchestral settings, which has led to her being selected for many musical honors. She has played in masterclasses for the Juilliard String Quartet, the Kronos Quartet, prominent violist Dimitri Murrath (viola professor at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a familiar face at the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music concerts), among others, as well as performing in Carnegie Hall in 2018. As a member of the UArizona viola ensemble, she was selected through a competitive audition process to perform with that ensemble at the American Viola Society Festival in both 2020 and 2022, a biennial festival that draws hundreds of violists from around the country, including the most famous and accomplished violists currently active.
I can think of no better student for this award than Gabby. She is a very deserving of this honor, and I am confident that she will continue to be an arts leader and a positive force in the community for many years to come.
Dr. Molly Gebrian, DMA
Jack Edward Haskins
School of Dance
Jack demonstrated for a young person how he prepares himself, opening his life experiences to something outside of his familiar circle. His volunteer service for the UA promotes unify the CFA components by combining Artists with STEM programs along with “Earth Day in the Arts District”. Brilliant young man with a bright future ahead of him.
Jack's Full Nomination Letter
To The College of Fine Arts,
It is my absolute pleasure to nominate John Haskins as the Outstanding Senior representing the School of Dance at the University of Arizona.
During his time here at school, John studied as a dual-degree student, obtaining his BFA in Dance; BA in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, & Law (PPEL). Minor in Climate Change & Society with Honors while achieving Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.977.
John is an extremely hard-working, ambitious technician and an asset in and out of the classroom. As a dance major he is a Four-time recipient of Linda and Ken Robin $10,000 merit scholarship based upon dance. His performance, beyond coursework, was seen as he was cast by the School of Dance in five featured roles (originating two of the roles) along with ensemble parts in several more choreographed works, recruited by Tucson Regional Ballet to work outside of school almost every weekend for one semester as a guest artist performing the lead role “Basilio” in a production of Don Quixote. These and other accomplishments earned him an award for “Outstanding Senior” School of Dance’s 2023 graduating class.
His Senior Thesis alone is impressive: As he worked along with his professors on the “Plan Quality Evaluation” portion of their Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard for Heat, providing an upcoming presentation to city officials for their and his eventual academic publishing. Tasked with evaluating eight city/county plans for Tempe and Tucson against criteria for effective, equitable planning that adequately accounts for urban heat mitigation and management.
In addition to dance “Jack” has established himself in one of the most prestigious fraternities Phi Beta Kappa on the university campus. As we know support systems are keys to success and creating strong bonds for a profound student body here at UArizona takes commitment and insightful leadership. Elected three times as College of Fine Arts Senator John brought a foundation for values, an ear for listening and direction for guiding others.
We had the opportunity to work with Jack as our Rehearsal Assistant during my faculty piece “Eyes Wide Open” in Spring of 2022. He demonstrated for a young person how he prepares himself, opening his life experiences to something outside of his familiar circle. His volunteer service for the UA promotes unify the CFA components by combining Artists with STEM programs along with “Earth Day in the Arts District”. Brilliant young man with a bright future ahead of him. Raised right with good ethics to understand humaneness in his observations of the world around him. Working with him in my faculty piece I was privy to have conversations transporting him after an injury, also with ransom conversions that we had on campus. Viewing a project, he developed at the Center for Creative Photography called “Earth Day in the Arts” allowed myself as part of an audience to view the UA campus from an environmental perspective.
My first impression and lasting thoughts of John “Jack” Haskins will always be a young man of moral character with a high caliber and cadre of goals that he will continue to pursue in higher education and life experiences. With this I would like to highly recommend him to hold the title, as we know he is very deserving and would honor The College of Fine Arts visions of exceptional student in the role of “Outstanding Senior”.
Barbea M. Williams
School of Dance
Calista Kimiko Olander
School of Art
Calista has impressed the Art History faculty with her thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and excellence in every aspect of her work: writing, speaking, and mentoring other students. Dr. Sandra Barr has praised her for her leadership in the classroom.
Calista's Full Nomination Letter
Dear Colleagues in the College of Fine Arts,
We are pleased to congratulate Calista Kimiko Olander as the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award for Spring 2023 in the School of Art and present her as an excellent candidate for the College of Fine Arts’ Outstanding Senior Award. Both the faculty in Art History and the Director and Curator of the Joseph Gross Gallery nominated Calista for the School of Art award in recognition of her devotion to excellence in her scholarship, her commitment to the Tucson arts community through her museum and gallery work, her volunteer experiences, and her leadership role among her peers.
Calista is an Art History major in the Honors College, with an overall 4.0 GPA. She has been on the Dean’s List with distinction since her first semester at UA and is a National Merit Scholar. Her commitment to interdisciplinarity has been demonstrated by a very unusual combination of skills and academic interests. She has augmented her major area of study of Art History with minors in Mathematics and Japanese, and with further language study and competency in intermediate Korean and beginning French. She completed a semester abroad in Seoul, South Korea in Spring 2022.
Calista has impressed the Art History faculty with her thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and excellence in every aspect of her work: writing, speaking, and mentoring other students. Dr. Sandra Barr has praised her for her leadership in the classroom. She has been the designated notetaker in several of Dr. Barr’s classes, especially assisting students with disabilities, and she is currently the registered preceptor in ARH 203, organizing study sessions for the class and giving additional presentations on special topics. She is writing an Honors Art History thesis under the direction of Dr. Barr on the “Decolonize This Place” movement, its goals as a collective, actions against museums, institutional responses, and its long-term impacts on Western museums. Calista frequently meets with Dr. Barr for in depth discussions about her research, but also to inquire about how best to convey art historical topics and perspectives to students in the study groups. “She has the makings of a serious researcher and a pro-active teacher…she is truly exceptional,” says Dr. Barr.
Since Fall 2022, Calista has been involved with the School of Art Galleries, first as a student in Gallery Management (ART 497A) and as a Student Gallery Manager beginning in January 2023 in collaboration with Galleries Director lydia see. Calista is currently co-curating the annual BFA Exhibition (3/16/23- 4/3/23), recently co-curated the Donors & Scholars exhibition (2/5/23-2/17/23), and has worked in the capacity of curatorial assistant and preparator for several other exhibitions, including Delivery Systems (9/29/22-11/18/22) which was realized through a co-creative process with Gallery Management students. Gross Gallery Director and Curator lydia see has called Calista “an exemplary model of an artist citizen with a strong work ethic, generous with peer mentorship, and deeply driven by curiosity.”
This curiosity has led Calista to seek yet more opportunity for professional and personal growth through her engagement with the museum community in Tucson as a volunteer at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Tucson in Fall 2022. In January 2023, Calista began an internship at MOCA where she is working under the direction of Dominic Valencia, Registrar and Exhibition Manager who reported, “Calista has consistently impressed the MOCA Tucson staff across departments, both as a volunteer and in her current role as a Registrar & Collections Management Intern. She approaches her work with curiosity and thoughtfulness, and she is always eager to support those working alongside her. I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Calista and appreciate her substantial contributions to MOCA’s exhibitions and programs.” In her short time at MOCA, Calista has participated in two major exhibitions and several corresponding events, including the large-scale site-specific installation Cecilia Vicuña: Sonoran Quipu. Calista has further demonstrated her multiple talents and commitment to the arts and arts community as a dance teacher for students from ages 3 to 18 and as an employee of Arizona Dance Theater from 2016 to 2020.
Calista aims to pursue a graduate degree in Art History and Museum Studies, with application decisions pending. We are confident that she will succeed in her pursuits and make lasting contributions in her museum career. Thank you kindly for your consideration of this remarkable student for Outstanding Senior in the College of Fine Arts for Spring 2023.
Irene Bald Romano, Ph.D.
Professor of Art History
lydia see, M.F.A
Gallery Director and Joseph F. Gross Endowed Curator
Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistants
College of Fine Arts
School of Dance
Gabriel’s level of artistry and creative research is advancing the boundaries of our artform. He is truly inspiring to all the faculty and students here at UArizona School of Dance.
Gabriel's Full Nomination Letter
To The College of Fine Arts,
It is my pleasure to nominate Gabriel Speiller as Outstanding GTA for the School of Dance. Gabriel is a beautifully creative artist. His level of artistry and creative research is advancing the boundaries of our artform. He is truly inspiring to all the faculty and students here at UArizona School of Dance. He has had an outstanding career dancing with Bruce Wood Dance in Dallas, TX and Paul Taylor 2 in NY, NY. Gabriel has been able to share his professional experiences with our students at UArizona Dance. He has been an incredible addition to our UArizona Dance family. I am honored to have been able to work with him over the past two years – what he brings to the dance program elevates the level of our graduate and undergraduate program. I have witnessed his courage, tenacity, and dedication to his education, teaching, creative and scholarly research during his time in graduate school, all while being long-distance with his wife in Dallas, Texas. I am thrilled to be nominating him for this wonderful award as he is a true artist that immerses himself in his creative work and is willing to make sacrifices to attain his goals.
In addition to being a very talented choreographer and performer, Gabriel is an outstanding GTA in every way. He is an excellent teacher, as well. Gabriel handles himself with ease and a strong sense of professionalism and has proven to be an exceptional educator. Not only has Gabriel been a superior Teaching Assistant for our dance program, he also beautifully embodies the equal emphasis placed upon both artistry and scholarship that is so deeply fundamental to the mission of the College of Fine Arts. Gabriel was an invited presenter with his scholarly research Authentically Me: Discovering Resilience in the Sonoran Desert at the Dance Studies Association Conference in Vancouver Canada, which is an incredible accomplishment. His choreography a Chance Encounters was invited to be performed at the Golden Swan Gala in Phoenix, AZ which he gave our undergraduate students an opportunity to perform at this prestigious event representing UArizona Dance.
Gabriel has sustained teaching excellence in every possible arena of our program: from large-lecture general education courses; to teaching a variety of dance technique classes to the very large non-major population. He has also assisted faculty as either a Teaching Assistant or Rehearsal Director for masterworks which includes Paul Taylor’s Company B. Gabriel performed on the Stevie Eller stage in guest artists Frank Chavez’s Habaneros, and many other faculty works at UArizona Dance. He also performed with Assistant Professor of Practice Hayley Meier in Stellarscape at Crowder Hall. He has been outstanding… always ready to take on a new challenge and meeting each of these challenges head-on with skill, brilliance, grace, and even more importantly, with gratitude and generosity. These achievements are all the more remarkable considering he has been balancing all of this while being a guest choreographer at University Belhaven University and teaching masterclasses across the country.
We in the School of Dance have been honored to work with Gabriel Speiller and we are proud to nominate Gabriel for Outstanding GTA in The School of Dance. He is courageous, dedicated, and an inspiration for us all.
Tamara Dyke-Compton (She/Her/Hers)
Associate Professor, School of Dance Director of Graduate Studies
School of Art
Mariel’s superlative performance is reflected equally in her work as an instructor and in her individual practice. An outstanding artist/researcher, Mariel brings all the passion for her studio work into the classroom environment and demonstrates a deep desire to impart her love of learning to her students and her peers.
Mariel's Full Nomination Letter
Dear Colin Blakely,
The faculty of the School of Art Photography, Video and Imaging area enthusiastically nominates Mariel Miranda for a 2023 College of Fine Arts Outstanding GTA Award. Over the duration of her program of study she has demonstrated exceptional leadership, initiative, commitment, innovation and productivity. Her superlative performance is reflected equally in her work as an instructor and in her individual practice. An outstanding artist/researcher, Mariel brings all the passion for her studio work into the classroom environment and demonstrates a deep desire to impart her love of learning to her students and her peers.
Since joining our program in fall 2020 as a UA Fellow, Mariel has challenged herself at every turn. With an undergraduate degree in sociology, with photography training obtained through university coursework and informally, she has expanded her repertoire to include sculpture, video, installation work and creative writing. Having set her sights on graduate school functioning as a platform to expand her range, she applied for and was awarded the Marcia Grand Centennial Sculpture Prize. She leveraged that opportunity to create new artwork which expanded her practice dramatically. Over a period of months she devoted herself to experimentation and sought feedback with a startling level of focus and resolve. She emerged from that effort with new work which she then debuted in a solo exhibition at the Centro Cultural Tijuana CECUT—Tijuana’s premier museum and cultural space. To be sure, this would be an outstanding achievement for an artist an any career stage.
The artwork Mariel produced integrated sculpture, collage and photographic printmaking to create a compelling and immersive installation titled “Animalizar el Deseo,” As a whole it represented the mastery of a new set of creative strategies and expressive tools. Notably, this one example sits among a list of milestone accomplishments of similar magnitude. Among them, a Melon Foundation Fronteridades Fellowship and a Jumex Foundation Fellowship stand out as particularly impressive achievements with each having specific, attached projects.
The level of professionalism and self direction that she exhibits in her graduate studies is similarly evident in her work as a GTA. For the duration of her time as an MFA candidate, Mariel has been an instructor for breakout lab sections in our ART 244 Introduction to Photographic Practice and Visual Thinking course. The work produced by her students is consistently excellent and they are clearly inspired by her mentorship.
Having worked with three different lead faculty for the course, Sama Alshaibi, Martina Shenal and myself, each offers a similarly outstanding appraisal of Mariel’s performance. Specific accomplishments include revised assignments and adapted curriculum to reflect new developments in the field—particularly the convergence of still and moving image technologies. She has also devoted significant energy to creating a culture of GTA collaboration for the course across lab sections taught by fellow graduate students. She holds weekly meetings during which GTAs can swap notes and share insights. Sama Alshaibi shares that her efforts have created a space for all lab instructors to have comparable familiarity and experience with the curriculum. Thus, no undergraduate student section ends up with a less prepared instructor.
She has also lifted the other GTAs, by finding meaningful ways for their strengths and preexisting experience to be utilized. For example, she encouraged one of our newest graduate students, who has significant filmmaking and video experience, to lead in the revision of a video assignment. Mariel has brought new standards and methodology to our ART 244 course and the graduate student instructors that follow her will see such collaboration as a norm when they to work together on the class.
Martina Shenal adds that from her experience of working with Mariel twice, she is a highly skilled instructor who is generous, relatable, and innovative—a leader in the classroom, and a great mentor to fellow GTAs.
Doubtless, Mariel Miranda’s strengths as an artist/researcher and in teaching will server her well in the future. As a first generation student, she has distinguished herself admirably and is certain to be a leader and mentor for aspiring thinkers and creators in the coming years. We nominate Mariel for the Outstanding GTA award without reservation and look forward to the start of her prolific career as a colleague in the field.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Photography, Video and Imaging faculty:
David Taylor, Professor
Sama Alshaibi, Regents Professor
Marcos Serafim, Professor
Martina Shenal, Assistant Professor
Fred Fox School of Music
Several words come to mind when I read these [students’] comments: empathy, patience, understanding, encouragement, motivator, role-model. These are the words that Ed’s students and I have come to associate with their work in the theory program. Many of these are not teachable qualities, but Ed exhibits them daily.
Edward's Full Nomination Letter
Dear Scholarship Committee,
It gives me great pleasure to be taking time to nominate Edward Senn (they/their) for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant. Ed has been helping me teach MUS 120a/b (i.e., Freshman Theory) since Fall 2021, when they began their MM in bassoon performance studying with Dr. Olegario. When it became clear earlier that year that we would have an open Theory- GTA slot the following Fall, I suggested that Ed would be a good fit based on his strong background at UMASS-Amherst, where I know the theory faculty to be strong. I have not been disappointed; indeed, Ed is easily one of the top five GTAs I have worked with in 16 years here, including those doing graduate work in theory. In fact, my hunch is that it is precisely his performance background that commands such respect from his students and makes his instruction more practical and engaging.
Ed’s main duty is to teach two sections of aural skills twice per week (i.e., four contact hours with 20-25 students total), including preparation of teaching materials, administering and grading dictation quizzes (five times per semester), administering and grading one-on-one solfége singing tests (three times per semester), and holding weekly office hours. A secondary but time-consuming duty is grading the weekly written theory homework assignments for the 20-25 students in their two aural skills sections. As the faculty advisor, I do everything I can to keep this assignment at 10 hours per week, providing teaching and quiz materials, etc. Despite my efforts, Ed consistently spends extra time finding just the right sight-singing example to challenge the students, or composing just the right melodic dictation to drive home a new concept.
Ed’s students have picked up on what a special experience they are having in aural skills. I would like to share two anecdotes sent to me from Ed’s students:
[Student 1] Going into music theory, I was really nervous because it was not something that is easy to learn for me especially since I didn’t have too much previous experience with the material. Sometimes as a student, it can be really easy to be discouraged when peers teach in a way that make me feel as if I’m already supposed to know something or make me feel stupid for not understanding a concept but Ed never made me feel that way. He was understanding and went out of his way to find time in his busy schedule to help me with concepts I was struggling with. He is encouraging and has energy even when the class is kind of quiet in the mornings which motivates me to learn more. I had some scheduling issues and he was very patient with me when I talked to him about that. The feedback he provides always helps me learn more and do better in the next assignment.
[Student 2] It is very apparent that Ed is on the students’ side and wants all of us to succeed. When I was worried about the final last semester, he met with me outside of class and his normal office hours since I wasn’t available, to make sure that I felt confident on the material going into the exam.
Several words come to mind when I read these comments: empathy, patience, understanding, encouragement, motivator, role-model. These are the words that Ed’s students and I have come to associate with their work in the theory program. Many of these are not teachable qualities, but Ed exhibits them daily.
Given our problems with retention in the SOM, stories like this one are increasingly important to the life of our school. It has been made clear to me that student dropouts are most often largely due to struggles in music theory. As the faculty supervisor for Freshman Theory, I take that fact quite seriously and have been adapting the course to incorporate more group work and peer-to- peer learning. Having a GTA like Ed has been absolutely indispensable in making this approach successful. I give him my strongest recommendation for the Outstanding GTA Award.
Thank you so much. Sincerely,