Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award Nominations, 2010-11

Julia McQuade and Amy Paysnick, GTA nominees
Julia McQuade (left) and Amy Paysnick
The Department of Psychology has nominated two outstanding graduate teaching assistants for this year's Graduate College Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year award.

Julia McQuade

Julia McQuade is a fifth-year student in the Clinical Training Program who will be defending her thesis in May. Her work with Professors Dianna Murray-Close and Betsy Hoza focuses on understanding the cognitive risk and protective factors of emotional and social adjustment for children with ADHD. Often, her research approaches these questions from a developmental psychopathology perspective and examines if risks for children with ADHD are deviations from typical development or are unique to this population. She will be completing her pre-doctoral internship at Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard Medical School beginning in July, 2011.

Rex Forehand Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor, Ansbacher Professor of Psychology, and Director of Clinical Training included these comments in his letter of nomination:

"I am writing to highly recommend Ms. Julia McQuade to you for the Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award. I cannot think of a graduate student who has contributed more to the overall teaching mission of the Psychology Department during my eight years on faculty at the University of Vermont! Julia is a highly skilled, motivated, and caring individual. All of these characteristics are apparent in her teaching activities in multiple venues and make her a very deserving candidate for GTA of the Year Award..."

Dr. Timothy Stickle, the instructor of record in Statistics, wrote "Julia was an outstanding TA for the first-year graduate statistics course. This course is the most challenging taken in graduate school by many students. Julia was scrupulously prepared and delivered the material and feedback on their work to students with consummate professionalism. Students were effusive in their praise for Julia's clarity, dedication, preparation, and organization. The calmness and grace with which she dealt with a large and anxious group is noteworthy."

Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, the instructor of record in Adult Assessment, wrote "Julia was an amazing TA. She was proactive in her planning and really helped me (as a first time instructor for the course) to anticipate what the students' needs were. Julia had high (appropriate) expectations of the students in the class and provided them with very clear instruction. To her credit, when there was some dissatisfaction in the class about something I had not provided to the students, Julia tactfully approached me about it."

Dr. Betsy Hoza, the instructor of record for Child and Adolescent Psychological Assessment, wrote "Julia did an outstanding job teaching complex assessment instruments to graduate student psychologists-in-training. This required teaching the 'nuts and bolts' of how to administer and score each measure, supervising the actual practice assessments while they were occurring, as well as giving feedback on administrations afterward."

Amy Paysnick

Amy Paysnick is a second-year student, also in the Clinical Training Program. Currently Amy is working with Professor Keith Burt in the Risk and Resilience Laboratory, studying risk and protective factors for individuals who experience high levels of stress in childhood and adolescence. Her current work investigates how factors such as coping and competence can influence the associations between stressful life events and internalizing symptoms, as well as examining how physiological reactivity to stress is involved in these associations.

Larry Rudiger, Ph.D., Lecturer in the Department of Psychology included these comments in his letter of nomination:

"I am delighted to tell you about Amy and her outstanding work supporting UVM's undergraduate teaching mission. We have been colleagues since before we met. Amy agreed to work as a Teaching Assistant for our online version of PSYC 001 during the summer before she officially entered our PhD program. She was the first student to serve in this role in quite this way (her predecessors had all been familiar to me from their prior work on other courses). It is a challenging assignment as the entire course is taught online during a compressed 5-week session."

"Amy's responded to nearly 2500 messages from students since arriving (and yes, I checked: that's a real number, not a ball-park estimate). In addition, though, is the quality of her responses that impresses me so much. As before, she composes e-mail in a way that is helpful, calm, even-tempered, and thoughtful. When replying, students often make a point of thanking her personally. I think that they realize she's carefully reading their messages and answering in a tailored way to give them confidence and support their learning. Amy also brings this capacity for close reading to the critical task of editing documents and exams. It is a tremendous luxury to have her doing this work, as it ends up saving everybody an enormous amount of time."

"In the Spring, 2010 semester, Amy led class. Her unique contributions were apt and effective. The questions she posed to students kept them involved and led to productive discussion. In short, she can work a room, but she does so with a unique and effective presentational style to teach and lead student's active engagement with the material."

"In addition to supporting students taking PSYC 001, Amy was an outstanding leader for the Undergraduate Teaching Fellows who support the course by reviewing writing assignments and assisting in the classroom."

"Without a doubt, we are having the best year in the ten or so I've been involved with PSYC 001. As we focused on current student's needs during the recent Fall semester, we also were able to plan for the future and are now implementing the most significant set of refinements and enhancements in my years of managing the whole endeavor."

"Amy Paysnick's unique combination of hard work, deep thought, compassion, humor, and dedication has made a palpable difference in the lives of thousands of current and future UVM students."