Published April 20, 2022
The Department of Biological Sciences is proud to announce that Holly O’Shea has won the UB Graduate School’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the year 2022. This prestigious award recognizes the skill and dedication of graduate students as a teacher. Holly is currently a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Soo Lee, Empire Innovation Professor and was co-nominated for the award by Dr. Jae Lee, Professor, and Dr. Jessica Poulin, Clinical Associate Professor.
As a graduate student, Holly has been a teaching assistant for several courses – BIO 200 (Evolutionary Biology), BIO 315 (Fundamentals of Biochemistry Lab), and BIO 329 (Genetics Laboratory). She is also actively involved in mentoring the master’s and undergraduate students in the Lee lab.
Commenting on her mentorship and advisement skills, Dr. Jae Lee mentions, “Holly is genuinely nice and warm, making herself readily available for any question or guidance needed by her mentees both inside and outside of the lab, and moreover she showed an amazing level of patience in teaching others.” As per Dr. Poulin, “Holly's passion for teaching, concern for students, and skill at delivering material in creative ways has been clear.”
As a teaching assistant to students who come from diverse backgrounds, Holly makes sure to cater to everyone’s needs. In her personal statement, Holly states that, “in the class where I was able to write my own syllabus, I included a list of affordable, accessible mental health resources designed to serve all populations (including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities). A student’s mental health and personal circumstances can largely affect their performance in the classroom, so supporting their well-being and giving them tools to succeed is my top priority.” This statement aligns with UB’s mission on diversity, and truly reflects Holly’s empathetic nature, and her care for her students’ success.