Posted: February 28, 2018

Natali Ozber Plant Biology PhD candidate and PPEM student was selected for the Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award from the Penn State Graduate School.

According to the graduate school website "The Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes graduate assistants for outstanding teaching performance. This award is sponsored jointly by the Graduate School, through the Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award endowment, and the Office of the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education." Natali's extensive teaching career for which the award was given, compliments her strong research skills and accomplishments.

Natali was nominated and selected for this award because of her exceptional teaching proficiency as demonstrated in a number of classes this year. According to her mentors, "Natali has a natural predisposition toward teaching and is willing to spare extra time to mentor others." While most graduate students teach at some point during their careers, Natali used her training in Biology 598A- Experiential Teaching in Biology and Biology 602-Supervised Experience in College Teaching to excellent results in her classes. As a result of her teaching Biology 240W (twice) and Biology 230W, as teaching assistant for the lab portions of the classes, she has accolades from several instructors. They describe her as enthusiastic, passionate, and effective in these courses.

This year Natali, demonstrated that her passion for teaching goes beyond her college classroom experiences. In June and July of 2017, Natali taught the Upward Bound Program, Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology course. She was solely responsible for this course for which she designed 16 lectures and taught 10 high school students. In April of 2017, she likewise proposed a workshop titled: "Decoding DNA - the thread of life" and taught 40 middle school girls as part of the Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) outreach program. She also volunteered for Exploration U: Community Science Night for Bald Eagle Area High School in February of 2017. She regularly serves as a judge for STEM poster and presentation competitions.