Doctoral Students Lauren Bridges and Leeann Siegel received the James D. Woods Award at the 2019 Annenberg Graduation Ceremony. Given in memory of Annenberg graduate student James D. Woods, the award is granted to an outstanding graduate teaching assistant.
Bridges, a second year Ph.D. student, was nominated for Professor Guobin Yang's undergraduate course COMM 203: Media, Culture & Society in Contemporary China.
"COMM 203 is a very challenging course for a teaching fellow without prior knowledge of Chinese history and culture," said Yang, Grace Lee Boggs Professor of Communication and Sociology. "But Lauren quickly became an expert on the materials covered in the course and could explain them clearly and confidently to students in the class."
Yang lauded Bridges' grading practices as careful and thoughtful, and he pointed out that there were no student complaints regarding grading, which has not always been the case with this course. Yang also praised Bridges' utmost dedication to her role, saying she "demonstrated the best qualities of a teacher-scholar" and "made essential contributions to the success" of the course.
Bridges conducts research at the intersection of media, technology, and policy. Her interests include media industries, digital labor, global media systems, digital methods, and the political economy of media and communication.
A third year Ph.D. student, Siegel was nominated for Lecturer Kimberly Woolf's undergraduate course COMM 225: Children and Media.
"Leeann was a responsive and extremely capable teaching fellow," said Woolf, Director of Graduate Student Professional Training. "She supported her students regularly during office hours and provided detailed and constructive feedback on their work."
Woolf emphasized Siegel's ability to sympathize with the students while continuing to challenge them intellectually. Woolf also described Siegel's commitment to undergraduate education and her clear and engaging lecture style. Siegel will teach COMM 225 during the Summer 2019 academic term.
Siegel studies health communication, with a particular focus on how communication environments and communication inequalities impact health behaviors and beliefs related to substance use and mental health.