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3 students receive S21 TEX awards

Three students affiliated with genetics, development and cell biology (GDCB) received Graduate College Teaching Excellence (TEX) awards in spring 2021: Mark Bouska, Hao Jiang and Yosia Mugume.

Mark Bouska
Mark Bouska, a molecular, cellular and developmental biology major, received a TEX nomination from his major professor, GDCB Assistant Professor Hua Bai.

Bai described Bouska as a “phenomenal” teaching assistant in the spring 2020 GEN 410 (Analytical Genetics) course. He said Bouska went above and beyond his teaching duties in the Biology 155 (Human Biology) course during fall 2020 and spring 2021. Bai explained that Biology 155 is considered a relatively large class with more than 80 students enrolled each semester. Due to COVID-19, many students could not attend the in-person class. Bouska prepared both in-person and recorded lectures to help all students.

“As a graduate teaching assistant, Mark has done an extraordinary job in teaching," said Bai. "His significant contributions to biology teaching for GDCB department are well deserved for the GDCB 'Teaching Excellence Award',” said Bai.

Hao Jiang, S21 Teaching Excellence Award recipient
Hao Jiang

Hao Jiang
Having taught Biology 212L for five semesters, Hao Jiang was an experienced Biology 212L teaching assistant. Currently, Jiang is a master’s student majoring in computer science. As a Biology 212L TA, he has been both consistent and reliable, said his nominator, GDCB Associate Teaching Professor Carly Manz, Biology 212L faculty in charge.

Jiang took student feedback and others’ advice to heart. “As he grew in his role as a more experienced TA, he did not hesitate to share his experience with newer TAs and offer advice to other TAs for how to handle various issues in the labs." 

Prior to pursuing his master’s in computer science, Jiang earned his Ph.D. in plant biology in summer 2020 under the direction of his major professor, GDCB Chair and Professor Yanhai Yin.

Yosia Mugume
Yosia Mugume taught Biology 313L (Principles of Genetics Laboratory) for over two years. GDCB Assistant Teaching Professor Jelena Kraft described Mugume as a “skilled instructor who employs various instructional methods to teach complex genetics concepts and details of molecular biology techniques.”

Yosia Mugume, S21 Teaching Excellence Award recipient
Yosia Mugume

Kraft said Mugume was the only TA who instructed the lab in two teaching modalities simultaneously due to the pandemic. Some of his students completed the lab in hybrid teaching mode, while others finished the lab online due to health complications where they could not be on campus. “Yosia was in the lab guiding hands-on experiments, while also managing online students’ work through consistent communication, material dissemination and feedback. Yosia also provided synchronous feedback through weekly Webex meetings to connect with students after class and provide additional learning opportunities.

“I was and continue to be impressed by his capabilities as a scholar, teacher and researcher," said Kraft. "Teaching in the pandemic impacted semester is very challenging, but ensuring students meet the course’s learning outcomes in hybrid and online lab modality is an entirely different skillset.” Mugume earned his Ph.D. in summer 2021 with a major in genetics.

The department's faculty, staff and students congratulate Bouska, Jiang and Mugume on their TEX awards.