CTL Graduate Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

CTL’s Graduate Fellowship for Teaching Excellence program honors graduate students who are dedicated to excellent teaching and is designed to foster conversations about teaching to help graduate students develop as teachers. Graduate Fellows organize and facilitate teaching workshops in their departments and across the university, observe graduate students teaching and offer feedback, and meet regularly as a fellows group to discuss teaching practices.

Candidates for this fellowship must be nominated by their department; the call for nominations goes out to graduate chairs in the spring semester. For more information about the Graduate Fellows Program contact Bruce Lenthall.


Matt DeCross
Physics and Astronomy

Matt is a fifth-year PhD candidate. His research explores the connections between quantum entanglement, quantum circuit complexity, and spacetime wormholes in AdS/CFT. Matt received a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from MIT in 2016, where he taught seminar courses and a year-long AP Physics C course to middle school and high school students through MIT's Educational Studies Program. At Penn, he has been a TA for General Relativity, Theoretical Neuroscience, and Quantum Mechanics II, a lab instructor for Classical Mechanics I, and a summer course instructor with Penn Summer Prep Program. With CTL, he served as a TA Trainer and completed the teaching certificate program in 2019. Matt is particularly interested in connecting modern experimental and theoretical ideas in the physics curriculum using Active Learning techniques.

Mohammad Fereydounian
Electrical and Systems Engineering

Mohammad is a fourth-year Ph.D. student under the advisement of Prof. Hamed Hassani. He is also simultaneously pursuing a Master’s degree in Statistics at The Wharton School. Previously, he received two B.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Pure Mathematics and an M.Sc. degree in Pure Mathematics all from the Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. Hisresearch interests include various theoretical topics in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Sciences with a focus on Optimal Transports in Statistical Learning; an area in which different components from three aforementioned fields meet. Across his undergraduate and graduate studies, he has worked as a teaching assistant in 11 courses and as a guest lecturer in five classes. He earned CTL's Teaching Certificate in 2019.
Personal website: https://www.seas.upenn.edu/~mferey/

Shivajee Govind

Shiv is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Fakhraai Research Lab. He was born and raised on the small island of Mauritius. He did his bachelor's degree at the University of Liverpool, UK before moving to the US to pursue his graduate studies. At Penn, his research is primarily focused on studying the dynamics of thin films of amorphous materials, namely thin films of Stable Glasses. Shiv has taught Chemistry, Physics and Math at the middle and high school levels back in Mauritius and England. He is a fan of interactive teaching and likes to share his passion for experimental chemistry with his students in the lab. For the past three years at Penn, he has taught General Chemistry’s laboratory-based courses. In this time, he was awarded the Penn Chemistry Graduate Teaching Award and the Chemistry TA Commendation Prize.

Lauren Harris

Lauren Harris is a 5th year PhD candidate. Her interests center around family change in inequality, particularly in the early stages of family formation, such as dating and cohabitation. She is currently developing her interview-based dissertation on the dating and partnering experiences of older adults. Lauren has been a teaching assistant in a few sociology courses at Penn (Research Methods; Gender; and Media and Pop Culture) and has taught Introductiton to Sociology in the summer through LPS. She is looking forward to developing her teaching skills, teaching more classes, and helping students understand social inequalities and structures.

Antoine Haywood

Antoine Haywood is a third-year Ph.D. student at the Annenberg School.  His research focuses on community media-making practices and media activism movements.  He holds a BA in English from Morehouse College and a MA in Media Studies from the New School University.  Antoine has served as an Annenberg teaching fellow for COMM 411: Communication, Activism, and Social Movements.  He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Jefferson University's East Falls Campus for two years.  At Jefferson, he has taught COMM 101: Intro to Communication, COMM 204: Technologies of Communication, and COMM 300: Text, Sound, Image.  In addition to teaching undergraduate students, Antoine has extensive experience training and mentoring young people in after school community media programs.  He is interested practicing in interactive learning techniques, knowledge production outside of conventional classroom spaces, and interdisciplinary, multimodal research methods.

Davy Knittle

Davy (he/they) is a sixth-year PhD candidate. His research interests are situated at the intersection of queer and trans theory, the urban environmental humanities, and critical race studies. His dissertation project focuses on literature by queer and trans writers that negotiates competing approaches to the future of New York in city planning, social justice activism, and environmental advocacy from 1950 to the present. Davy earned a BA in English and African-American Studies from Wesleyan University, and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has taught in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, English, the Pre-Freshman Program, and Urban Studies at Penn, where he teaches an annual course entitled “Gender, Sex, and Urban Life.”

Kristina Lewis

Kristina is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Educational Linguistics. Her research focuses on student teacher learning and identity development, particularly during the practicum components of second language teacher education. She holds an M.S.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Penn and has taught English to a range of students both in the United States and abroad. At Penn GSE, Kristina has taught courses within the TESOL master’s program and TA-ed courses within the Educational Linguistics division, particularly focusing on discourse analytic research methods. She has completed the CTL Teaching Certificate and was a Summer 2020 recipient of the GAPSA-Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation for a project focused on teaching demonstrations in TESOL education. Kristina also works as an editor and writing coach, specializing in providing support to international graduate students.

Zachary Loeb
History and Sociology of Science

Zachary is a PhD candidate whose research interests sit at the intersection of the history of technology and disaster studies, which he likes to sum up by stating that he studies the end of the world. Zachary’s dissertation project examines the year 2000 computing crisis (Y2K), considering the ways the crisis emerged, how the disaster was prevented, and how the incident captured social anxieties around computerization. Zachary has served as a grader and a teaching assistant for a variety of STSC and HSOC classes including Bioethics, Science and Religion, Science, Technology and War, and others; in the summer of 2020 Zachary was the teacher of record for Technology and Society. Prior to coming to Penn, Zachary earned an MSIS from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MA, in Media, Culture, and Communication, from New York University – he has worked as a librarian for many years for a variety of institutions including the New York Public Library and the Center for Jewish History. In 2020 he was awarded the Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students.  

Theodora Naqvi
Classical Studies

Theodora is a fourth-year PhD Candidate. Her current research focuses on the gods in Roman tragedy and historiography. During her MA program at Florida State University, she taught classes on cross-cultural mythology and at Penn she has been a TA for courses in Latin and ancient history. She was the recipient of a Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students in 2020.

Bruno Saconi

Bruno is a third-year PhD student and is enrolled in a dual master's degree in statistics at Wharton. His research investigates the relationship between sleep and pain, and assesses the effect of behavioral sleep treatments on chronic pain outcomes in military veterans. Bruno received a B.S.N. degree from Universidade de Brasília (Brazil) in 2015, and an M.S. degree from The Pennsylvania State University in 2017. While in Brazil, Bruno worked as an ESL instructor and TAed for numerous undergraduate nursing courses. At Penn, he has extensively TAed for undergraduate and graduate level courses on data analytics and quantitative research methodologies, both in the classroom and online. Bruno is a course instructor for NURS 230 (Statistics for Research and Measurement).

Adam Sax
Comparative Literature & Literary Theory

Adam is a PhD candidate working on a dissertation provisionally titled, “A Continuum of Loss: Productive Melancholia and Aporetic Loss in Twentieth-Century Elegy.” This comparative project focuses on elegy and the formation of the elegy-genre in the 20th century through an archive of German-Jewish, Queer, and Yiddish-American poets. He will be a TA this fall for “Gender & Society,” a course offered through the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program (GSWS). During his time at Penn, Adam has taught German language and culture to undergraduates (German 1 & 2). He is also a mainstay of the German for Reading Knowledge course, during which he makes use of an inductive method for teaching his fellow graduate students how to translate German academic prose for their own research purposes.

Zachary Smith
Political Science

Zachary is a PhD candidate. His dissertation research focuses on the links between systemic inequalities and elected representation in settler-colonial settings and is a comparative-historical analysis of elected representative institutional formation in the Cape Colony, Natal, colonial Algeria, and Palestine/Israel. He was a 2012 Marshall Scholar and holds a MA Israeli Studies and an MSc in Middle East Politics, both from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In 2018, Zachary received the School of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Graduate Student.

Daniel Wilde

Daniel is a doctoral student at the Wharton School. His research focuses on how the cognition of executives and entrepreneurs can help and hinder their companies as they navigate through a changing industry. He is very interested in helping graduate students feel confident and comfortable in front of a classroom in order to focus on finding and helping peripheral students shine. He has taught over 100 college recitation sessions, received the top public speaker award of his MBA cohort, and has tutored and taught many young people over many years. Daniel holds two degrees in Accounting, is a licensed CPA, and an MBA.   

Tamir Williams
History of Art

Tamir is a doctoral candidate whose research engages the intersections of Black bodies, Black labor, and disability within time-based work in American Art and Contemporary Art. They hold an MA in History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in American Studies and French from Middlebury College. Previously, they have held fellowships and internships at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Institute of Contemporary Art - Philadelphia, and Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). During the 2018-2020 academic years, they have served as a Teaching Assistant for Art History courses across various periods, such as Latin American Art (ARTH 267) and Art Now (ARTH 294)

Full list of Past CTL Graduate Fellows