We are highlighting all of the great work that our graduate assistants perform around our campus by featuring the nominees for the 2022 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 the nominees that we are going to feature them on our blog.  Congratulations to all the nominees!

Brooke Kemp, nominee for Ball State’s 2022 Graduate Assistant of the Year Award

For the 2021-2022 academic year, Brooke worked as a GA in support of the School of Journalism & Strategic Communication in the College of Communication, Information, and Media.  While a GA, Brooke taught or assisted teaching sections of News 105: Introduction to Journalistic Writing & Storytelling and had 120 undergraduate students in her classes between the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters. Brooke’s nominator Dr. Adam Kuban wrote this about Brooke, “I believe this is what drives Brooke’s teaching philosophy: she really enjoys teaching and just being in the classroom -the giving and sharing of knowledge. From her philosophy statement: ‘I am always striving to help students achieve those ‘lightbulb’ moments where it becomes clear how everything comes together or when they have a breakthrough with a topic where they have been struggling.’ Students have acknowledged this too in the evaluations, noting her willingness to assist them outside of class as often as necessary and her natural ability to explain topics from different angles to appeal to diverse learning styles. She goes out of her way to try to anticipate where students may falter with some of the more challenging, technical concepts in this required course, and she looks for moments when she can engage them in the content as she teaches via a plethora of examples and strategically selected applied-ethics scenarios. When it comes to the sections that Brooke teaches, she does so largely on her own. She manages Canvas, including uploading and updating content, assignments, quizzes, grades, and announcements. She develops rubrics (with some oversight from me), responds to students’ emails, monitors attendance records, and submits midterm and final course grades.”

Q & A with Brooke

What was the most valuable part of your assistantship experience?

Working as a graduate teaching assistant in the School of Journalism and Strategic Communication has been such an incredible experience. When I started grad school, I had a general idea of what I wanted to do when I graduated, but I also didn’t have a specific plan in place. When I started teaching, however, I immediately fell in love. I never saw myself going down this path, but after four semesters of teaching classes, I know that this is something I am passionate about. Teaching allows me to combine the many aspects of journalism that I adore while also giving me an outlet to continue to explore and learn new things. There are a lot of similarities between working one-on-one with a reporter as their editor and working one-on-one with a student as their teacher — especially when you are teaching as foundational a writing class as introduction to journalistic storytelling. It is also so exciting to know that I am having an impact on future journalists and helping to cultivate their love for journalism and storytelling. This has been such a valuable and rewarding experience because it has helped me continue to discover what I am passionate about and what I want to do when I graduate, while also giving me the opportunity to put my skills to the test and continue to grow as a professional, journalist, educator, and person.

How do you think your GA assignment has helped you to grow as a professional and a student?

As a teaching assistant, I have worked with Dr. Johnny Sparks in Journalism 101 Media and Society (Fall 2020) and Dr. Adam Kuban in News 105 Introduction: Journalistic Storytelling (Fall 2020 – present). Both professors have been great mentors as I continue to learn about teaching and have provided me with valuable insight along the way while also trusting me enough to learn about teaching by actually doing it. As I have grown over the past four semesters, I have gradually been given more autonomy to lead class, from creating lesson plans and leading lectures to working with students one-on-one when they need help. They have also pushed me to continue to improve at every opportunity. For example, Dr. Kuban and I meet weekly to discuss and reflect on how the week of instruction went and how the class is progressing. We also work hard together to reevaluate our plans for each semester to ensure we are providing the best learning experience possible for students based on what we learned in the previous semester, and he has taught me how to assess the needs of each class and adapt accordingly.

Is there anything else you would like to communicate about your experience as a GA?

This journey has certainly had its ups and downs, but I have grown tremendously because of it, and I am so excited to continue to put the lessons I have learned to use in the classroom.