This year, we are highlighting all of the great work that our graduate assistants perform around our campus by featuring the nominees for the 2021 Graduate Assistant of the Year Award. This award is coordinated by the Career Center, which works with the Graduate School to pick the winner of the award. We were so impressed by all of the nominees that we are going to feature them on our blog. Congratulations to all of the nominees and to this year’s winner, Betsy Kiel!
Betsy Kiel, recipient of Ball State’s 2021 Graduate Assistant of the Year Award
For the 2020-2021 academic year, Betsy worked as a GA to support the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Betsy executed a wide range of duties that promote both recruitment into the program’s academic degrees and participation in its community events. Betsy was nominated by Dr. Elizabeth Agnew, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies and Dr. Courtney Jarrett, Director of Disability Services. Dr. Jarrett said this about Betsy, “As the graduate assistant for WGS, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have her as my teaching assistant in several sections of the capstone course, WGS 499. We have also worked closely together on several programmatic projects, including bringing the amazing Gloria Steinem to campus.” Referring to the problems caused by the pandemic, Dr. Agnew said this about Betsy, ”Betsy’s presence has been crucial in ensuring the smooth functioning and the stability of the program…Betsy’s collaborative spirit and creative initiative have allowed us to adapt to this unprecedented convergence of setbacks and move forward in ways that are strengthening the program.”
Q & A with Betsy
What was the most valuable part of your assistantship experience?
I think the most valuable part of being a grad assistant in WGS has been having the opportunity to connect with our feminist community here on campus and in Muncie, as well as create strong connections with the other WGS faculty and staff. A major part of my job is leading the planning of our annual Women’s Week, which is our weeklong series of events that takes place each March to help educate our campus on the contributions and legacies of women and to foster the feminist community on and around Ball State’s campus.
How do you think your GA assignment has helped you to grow as a professional and a student?
Through my assistantship, I’ve been able to take my professional interests, like advocacy, community organizing, and graphic design, and combine them to benefit our program in any way I can. I’ve also been able to apply theories and concepts from my two graduate programs, Sociology and Political Science, to contemporary feminist concepts and events. I’ve learned so much about community building, administrative skills, and activism from my mentors in WGS that I’m not sure I would’ve gotten from just the classroom.
Is there anything else you would like to communicate about your experience as a GA?
One thing from my assistantship that I’m most proud of was my involvement in organizing our Moderated Conversation with Gloria Steinem last December. While it certainly, took the entire WGS village to get that event together, I continue to be honored by the role I played in bringing such a renowned feminist activist to campus!