2020 - 2021 Recipients 

Aimee Cryer

Aimee Cryer is from Virginia and taught Highschool English in Brooklyn, NY before coming to Iowa to get her MFA in Fiction. While at Iowa she has taught rhetoric and creative writing. She is published in Electric Literature Magazine and will be staying for a third year at Iowa to teach. 

Amanda Lewis Headshot

Amanda Lewis is a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership Ph.D. program. She holds an Ed.S. in School Psychology and has worked as a school psychologist, providing assessment, consultation, and intervention for elementary and middle school students and educators in Davenport, IA. Before working in Psychological and Brain Sciences as a TA, Amanda was a GA for the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research (ICATER), where she worked with students with disabilities as well as educators to show how technology can open doors and remove barriers to learning. Prior to coming to Iowa, Amanda earned her bachelors at the University of Texas at Dallas in Child Learning and Development and Psychology, and taught high school as a reading interventionist for students with learning disabilities. As a student with disabilities herself, Amanda studies the intersections between disability, psychology, technology, educational policy and practice with an eye to reimagine how education can best serve all students. She plans to work in federal-level educational policy change after completing her dissertation. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys playing pool, especially with her fiancé, reading/watching the best sci-fi she can find, and enjoying the antics of her two guinea pigs.

Anna Leinheiser Headshot

Anna Leinheifer is a third-year graduate student in The Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences Ph.D. program. Her research lies in Mathematical Biology, and her current project involves building a dynamical system that models hyper fission in cardiomyocytes. Originally from Alabaster, AL, she had never seen more than a dusting of snow before moving to Iowa but is now an enthusiastic winter participant. Before starting her graduate career in Iowa City, Anna graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics from The University of Montevallo where she was also a member of their collegiate cross country and track teams. When possible, she loves to go white water rafting and is currently planning an 18-day rafting trip down the Grand Canyon.  

Bomi Lee Headshot

Bomi Lee is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on interconnectedness of amity and enmity in international relations. In her dissertation, Interconnected Rivalries, she examines the interdependence among interstate rivalries by focusing on centralities and triangularities in rivalry networks. Bomi also has ongoing co-authored projects on climate change and interstate conflict. Bomi worked as an independent instructor for an undergrad-level methodology course, Analyzing Political Data, at the University of Iowa. In this course, she introduced quantitative analysis in Political Science to undergraduate students including statistical computing (STATA). She also has worked as a statistical consultant for the Iowa Social Science Research Center and taught workshops such as Introduction and Data Management Using R, Network Visualization Using R, and Network Analysis Using R.

Brittany Anderson Headshot

 Brittany Anderson is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology under the advisement of Dr. Theodore Powers and Dr. Elana Buch. Her masters work was based in Freetown, Sierra Leone with those affected by the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic. Her PHD is now focused on the effects of COVID-19 on back of house care in nursing homes in the Midwest.

Christian Haas Headshot

Christian Haas is a PhD candidate in the Chemistry Department. He draws teaching inspiration from previous professors and TAs and incorporates pieces into his own teaching style to create a structured learning environment in a welcoming atmosphere. When he is not teaching discussions or lectures, he can be found in the lab of Professor Johna Leddy, where his doctoral work involves modifying chemical reactions with electrical energy and magnets. Outside the lab, Christian enjoys playing golf in a local men’s league (pre-COVID times), taking his chocolate dapple dachshund for a walk around town, and sitting down for the occasional video game session.

Chris Wei Headshot

Chris Wei majored in Psychology and Philosophy during his undergraduate studies, then worked in the mental health industry for several years before returning to school and earning an MFA in Film and Television Studies at Boston University. Currently he is a second-year Film Studies PhD student at the University of Iowa. In his research, he is most interested in the intersections between time, death, bodies, and storytelling—and in the personal, political, and spiritual ramifications of those intersections. He has written extensively about cinema as resurrection; about digital doppelgängers; about ghostly and oceanic metaphors for new media; and about consciousness and temporality in the films of Don Hertzfeldt. As a mentor, teacher, and tutor, Chris has worked in a variety of settings including therapeutic boarding high schools and universities. At Iowa, he has been a Rhetoric instructor, a Writing Center tutor, and most recently, a Library liaison working collaboratively on a series of educational video essays. 

Cindy Ok Headshot

Cindy Juyoung Ok was a recent Truman Capote Fellow in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. A former high school physics teacher, she now teaches undergraduate poetry writing. She has also taught creative writing through nonprofits and presented at libraries, festivals, and residencies.  

Crystal Stewart

Crystal Stewart is about to graduate with her MFA in Acting from the Department of Theatre Arts. During her time at the University, she has taught Basic Acting and is currently teaching and developing Drama in the Classroom, an arts integration class that teaches Education majors how to use drama techniques and concepts to teach core curriculum. She also is currently developing, writing, and starring in the "Will Power" series with Riverside Theatre. Will Power is a collection of videos and supplementary lesson plans teaching Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" to middle school students throughout Iowa City, while incorporating Iowa Core Reading Literature standards.  

Federico Antolini Headshot

Federico Antolini is pursuing a PhD in Geoinformatics, after earning a MS in Environmental Engineering and a MA in Geography. In his research he is combining his engineering background with spatial analysis and modeling to determine if and how multiple water-retaining features can mitigate river flooding. His research interests include spatial optimization, topology of directed graphs, sensitivity analysis, hydrology of floods, green infrastructure in urban settings and natural hazard mitigation. At University of Iowa he worked as main instructor for GEOG:1050 Foundations of GIS and as a TA for GEOG:1050 Foundations of GIS and GEOG:1070 Contemporary Environmental Issues. Outside of school he enjoys mountain hiking, experimenting with spice-free recipes, listening to classical music and learning about sustainable and energy-efficient architecture.

Garrett Lewis Headshot

 Garrett Lewis is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of History, arriving at the University of Iowa in 2018. He received his MA in History from Mississippi College in 2016, and his BA in History and Literature from Mississippi College in 2013. He believes that history is fundamentally about storytelling, and so he focuses on training students to recognize narratives about historical figures, communities, and events, and to interpret and assess those narratives by using the historical knowledge learned through class discussion. Garrett centers his teaching work around student involvement, and he believes that the best class outcomes are achieved when students value their own contributions to the course. He strives to create an interdisciplinary classroom environment – rather than limiting discussion and lecture strictly to History, he works to incorporate complementary elements and approaches from across the liberal arts spectrum to offer students a broader context for historical processes, and a deeper appreciation for the role historical knowledge plays in their own lives and in the larger world. His dissertation project at the University of Iowa examines the social and cultural history of the New France/New England borderland from 1600-1800.

Grant Shivers Headshot

Grant Shivers attended the University of Iowa as an undergraduate where he studied chemistry and developed many special relationships that last to this day. It was there that he got an early start in research and owes a special thanks to Prof. Toshihiro Kitamoto, Prof. Daniel Quinn, and Prof. David Wiemer for taking chances on his as a young scientist. After much contemplation, he elected to continue his graduate career in pursuit of a chemistry PhD. at the University of. Iowa, and owes special thanks to the NIH and Iowa Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing for supporting his work. His current scientific interests include the development of novel reactions, medicinal chemistry, and biocatalaysis. As a natural introvert, he is both humbled and exhilarated to receive for recognition for his teaching efforts. Thank you to all who supported him throughout this process.  

Hansini Mungsinghe

Hansini Munasinghe is a PhD candidate in Sociology, and her areas of research and teaching expertise are immigration, race and ethnicity, gender and family, political sociology, and methods. Her research examines how immigrants and their families navigate sociopolitical institutions of their new home countries. Hansini received her MA in Sociology from Iowa, a Graduate Certificate in College Teaching from Iowa’s College of Education, and her BS in Sociology from Iowa State University. Before becoming a sociologist, Hansini worked as a freelance journalist in her home country, Sri Lanka. Throughout her time at Iowa, Hansini has been engaged in teaching, working both independently as an instructor of record and collaboratively as a teaching assistant. Hansini guides students towards a complete and complex understanding of the social world and their place within it, and empowers students to use sociological tools and research methods to answer real world problems. Her student-centered approach to teaching is influenced by her scholarly knowledge of social inequality, her lived experiences as an immigrant woman of color, and her interactions with teaching mentors and students who have shared their learning journey alongside her in real and virtual classrooms at Iowa.

Hayley Petras Headshot

Hayley Petras grew up in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, and received her Bachelors of Science in Chemistry with a Mathematics  minor from Drake University in 2017. She joined the Shepherd research group in May 2018, and has had the opportunity to TA two times for Physical Chemistry II discussion  since she started at UIowa. She’s participated in the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) facilitation training and has also been trained in the use of the TILE rooms here on campus.   In addition, with the help of Prof. Shepherd, she has lead independent research studies with two different small groups of students from Physical Chemistry II that brings together the concepts they learned in class with electronic structure research. 

Jeremy Geragotelis

Jeremy Geragotelis is a playwright and composer.  Their work has been produced in New York, Vermont, Philadelphia, and Tokyo, Japan.  They are a second year MFA candidate at the University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop.  Their musical The Preparation to the Death of Mary Dyer won the 2021 KCACTF Musical Theater Award.  In the Spring 2021 semester, they completed a pedagogy project with the Rhetoric Department regarding how silence might be reframed and better integrated into the college classroom, which can be found here.  

Jeremy Lowenthal Headshot

Jeremy Lowenthal is an English Ph.D. candidate and General Education Literature (GEL) instructor at the University of Iowa, where he studies twentieth-century poetry and poetics, with additional concentrations in media studies and trauma theory. He is the incoming co-chair of the GEL Textbook and Curriculum Committee and a former Program Associate for the GEL program. For his Resilience and Trauma-Informed Perspectives Certificate-accredited GEL course themed “Literature in the Aftermath of Catastrophe,” Jeremy earned the W.R. Irwin Award for Excellence in Teaching General Education Literature in 2020.  Before joining the University of Iowa, Jeremy worked as an adjunct faculty in the English, Theatre and Journalism Department of Harold Washington College in Chicago, where he apprenticed with John Hader, an expert in collegiate pedagogy. Jeremy’s work in the classroom has informed his doctoral research. Excerpts from his dissertation, “Sound in Memoriam: Airing Trauma on the BBC Third Programme,” have appeared or are forthcoming in Modernism/modernity and the Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies. Jeremy’s research has also earned him a Graduate College Summer Fellowship, the Marcus Bach Graduate Fellowship, the Dietz Poetry Essay Prize, and the Prairie Lights/Sherman Paul Dissertation Scholarship.

John Rubio Headshot

John Rubio is a PhD candidate in American Studies, and a recipient of the Lulu Merle Johnson Fellowship, at the University of Iowa. John was born and raised in California where he earned his BA in The Philosophy of Education from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands, and his MA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from San Diego State University. John has worked as a professional film reviewer for The San Diego Reader and as a regional editor for The San Diego Poetry Annual. He is a published and award-winning poet as well. John has also taught high school English, film studies, creative writing, speech and debate, and physical education.    

Justin Rosenblume Headshot


Justin Rosenblume is 4th year PhD Candidate in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences. Prior to his work at the University of Iowa, he received a BS in Geology from the University of Illinois and an MS in Geology from Northern Illinois University. Between each degree, he spent time working as an industry professional. His experience in both the Petroleum and Environmental Consulting industries allows him to be more effective in the classroom. His primary objectives as a geoscience educator are three-fold. He aims to provide students with the technical training required to enter the workforce, to teach students the scientific method, and to encourage students to develop communication skills through group projects, discussions, and written assignments. he strives to achieve these objectives by providing students with a challenging, yet safe and inclusive learning environment that invites them to ask questions, share their ideas, and inspires them to achieve their highest potential.

Kassie Baron Headshot

Kassie Baron is a doctoral candidate in English specializing in Nineteenth century American literature. Her work focuses on literary representations of white, female New England mill operatives’ bodies and the ideologies projected onto them by fiction and nonfiction writers during the first US industrial revolution. Her work attends to the connections between literary mode, stage of the operative’s life-narrative, and accounts of the body’s malleability. As an educator, Kassie focuses on creating a learner centered classroom community where students can acquire the skills and confidence to succeed. To ensure each student’s learning needs are met and encourage them to engage with texts in meaningful ways, she creates in-class activities that are fun and promote active learning. She fosters an inclusive and intellectually challenging environment, ensuring students leave the course as agential, independent thinkers, confident that they have an expert voice to contribute both in and out of the classroom.

Khaled Rajeh Headshot

Khaled Rajeh is pursuing the MA in English on a Fulbright exchange from his home country of Lebanon. He completed his BA in English in 2019 at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. He is currently translating the Iraqi-Assyrian poet Sargon Boulus and studying Italian because he hopes to move to Italy in the future but is still unsure when or how or why.  

Lauren Peters Headshot

Lauren Peters is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Communication Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of interpersonal and health communication using intersectional and feminist frameworks. She is currently working on her dissertation to uncover how survivors of sexual assault manage their uncertainty during invasive health care encounters and how medical providers offer subsequent support. She has taught courses related to interpersonal communication, communication theory, music and social change, and sexual communication. During the pandemic she has spent her free time cuddling her toy poodle and watching too much Survivor.  

Margaret Yapp Headshot

Margaret Yapp is from Iowa City, Iowa. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and teaches General Education Literature.  Margaret approaches the classroom with flexibility, compassion, and a sense of humor. She believes health and wellbeing always come first, before any assignment or classroom activity, and that learning should be joyful. 

Marisa Tirado Headshot

Marisa Celina Tirado graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2021 in poetry. While at Iowa she also studied Latinx poetry and received a certificate in literary translation. This summer she is excited to carry out her believes in equitable education as a Writing Instructor at Leadership Enterprise for Diverse America, where she will work with scholarship students in rhetoric and writing. She is the founder of an international collective called Protest Through Poetry (IG @protesthrupoetry) which provides seminars, publishing opportunities, and creative community for activist poets of color. She is grateful for the pedagogy courses and faculty support she received at the Rhetoric Department at Iowa for being the foundation for her classroom philosophies and structure today. Marisa has been selected for fellowships from Kenyon Review, Image Journal, and Macondo. Her poetry can be read in Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Triquarterly, and elsewhere. 

Mark Rheaume Headshot

Mark Rheaume writes music and writes about music. His research and teaching interrogate ideas of perspective and agency, with special interest towards reconstructing lost sounds. Mark is finishing his third year as a PhD student at the University of Iowa, where he has studied with Sivan Cohen Elias, Jean-Francois Charles, Zachary Stanton, and David Gompper. 

Mike Montanye Headshot

Michael Montanye is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Management & Entrepreneurship Department. He joined the program in 2017 after getting his undergraduate degrees and his MBA at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he was also a student-athlete playing soccer for four years. He then worked as a college soccer coach for two years before coming here to the University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business. He brings his experiences as a college athlete and coach to the classroom and to his research on individuals, leadership, and teams with a focus on interpersonal relationships and work norms. As a teacher he lives by two quotes: “The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting” – Plutarch, and “People learn nothing when they’re asleep and very little when they’re bored.” – John Cleese.  He aims to be a “spark-provider” and ignite an interest in learning and critical thinking beyond the classroom. One of the ways he does this is by supplementing traditional teaching methods with non-traditional methods, including incorporating or creating board games/simulations tailored to course content. He also emphasizes real world applications of content and uses guest speakers to provide real world experiences. 

Nicole Amato Headshot

Nicole Ann Amato is a PhD candidate in the Literacy, Language, and Culture program at The University of Iowa, where she teaches courses in children’s and adolescent literature to pre-service teachers. A former high school English Language Arts teacher, Nicole received her B.A. in Secondary English Education from Clemson University and her M.A. in Literacy Education from Furman University. Nicole’s research interests include young adult literature, comics and graphic novels, dialogic discussion, feminist criticism, and critical youth studies. Her recent publications have appeared in The Journal of Language & Literacy Education, Voices from the Middle, and The ALAN Review. Nicole hosts a campus book club that engages pre-service teachers with methods for facilitating critical conversations around the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality within young adult literature.   

Sarah Adler Headshot

Sarah Adler received a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently pursuing her MFA in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Her work explores a variety of topics, including identity-making on the Internet, the role of contemporary art in modern society, and gendered modes of interpersonal communication. In her teaching, she seeks to prioritize joy and experimentation in an effort to challenge power hierarchies and locate the classroom as a liberatory space.

Sarah Kingsbury Headshot

Sarah Kingsbury is a Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D.) student at the University of Iowa who has been a Teaching Assistant in Classical Mythology for three semesters. With Bachelor’s degrees in both Communication Sciences/Disorders and Comparative Religion, she finds teaching Greek and Roman mythology as the perfect way to meld her love for writing and religion with her clinical workload. Sarah is also a Research Assistant in Dr. Ishan Bhatt's Audiogenomics Lab and is currently completing research on genetic and epigenetic contributions to tinnitus. Outside of the classroom and clinic, Sarah is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International Certified Instructor in Training and enjoys working with young horseback riders. Sarah is immensely grateful to her TA mentor, Dr. Debra Trusty, Department Chair Craig Gibson, and the whole Classics department for offering an exciting and meaningful pedagogical experience in Classical Mythology.  

Tatiana Scholte-Bonne Headshot

Tatiana Schlote-Bonne is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at The University of Iowa. Her novel-in-progress, The Rules of Haunting, won the 2020 Diverse Worlds grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation. When she's not teaching or writing, she's lifting weights or playing Magic: The Gathering. 

Uchechi Anomnachi Headshot

Uche Anomnachi is an MA (soon to be PhD) candidate in American Studies and (Outstanding) Teaching Assistant in the Rhetoric Department. His course in Rhetoric concerns the rhetoric of conspiracy theories as an often niche and subversive style of arguing that has taken on new dimensions in the digital age. Originally from Washington, D.C., Uche received his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology & Sociology from Lafayette College in Easton, PA. He finds himself in Iowa by way of the University of Iowa’s American Studies department where he studies Afro/Asian cultural interactions, Black spectatorship, and Graphic Blackness in pop culture. In his spare time Uche enjoys fencing, video games, and watching Naruto.