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Donna Young Teaching Award

Many of our graduate students enjoyed their teaching responsibilities at the University of Winnipeg and have told us that it was a valuable experience that has helped shape their academic careers.  The Donna Young Teaching Award was created in order to recognize the dedication and hard work our graduate students put into teaching. This award is presented once a year to a Graduate Student Instructor in the Department of Biology who excels in teaching undergraduate-level laboratories. Mr. Alwyn Go was the recipient of this award in 2020. Consider the following conversation with Alwyn regarding his teaching experiences in the Department of Biology at the University of Winnipeg:

  1. Beata Biernacka: Why do you think it is valuable for grad students to have opportunities to teach?

 Alwyn Go:  I still remember my first day of lab as a bright-eyed undergrad. I was nervous but at the same time excited to learn and get my hands dirty. Having the opportunity to teach as a grad student was a great way to re-experience that excitement. Beyond that, I think teaching allows you to see science from a new perspective and it's a great way to reinforce (and sometimes relearn) the foundational concepts of science. It also allows grad students to develop their science communication and time management skills. Skills that are both readily transferrable and helped me throughout the graduate program and surely in future careers as well.  

  1. Beata Biernacka: What has been the most positive experience that you've had while teaching as a graduate student?

       Alwyn Go:  The entire experience has been wonderfully positive! But if I had to pick highlights of the experience it has to be those times when you see a student’s face light up as the puzzle pieces fall into place and they finally grasp a concept. Those moments were like discovering science all over again. The compliments from the students were also a nice added bonus. My favourite one so far was when a student randomly remarked about how “elegant” my pipetting was. 

  1. Beata Biernacka: How challenging it is to balance your commitment to teaching with your research?

      Alwyn Go: It was a bit of a challenge, especially at the start. As a grad student, I felt like my research was the priority. But teaching and research is definitely doable without having to compromise one commitment for the other. Having the opportunity to teach taught me how to better manage my time and to plan my weeks accordingly. Funnily, I think the added commitment from teaching has made me more productive overall since it forced me to make the most out of the time I had. 

Donna Young Teaching Award Recipients

2020 - Alwyn Go

2019 - Theresa Mackey

2018 - Martine Balcaen

2017 - Ana Breit

2016 - Brett Vahkal

2015 - Kumudu

2014 - Lindsay Bowman

2013 - Zenon Czenze

2012 - Carolyn Talbot