Published May 25, 2021
The Department of Biological Sciences is pleased to announce that Savannah Sojka has won the University at Buffalo Graduate School's 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Teaching Assistants. Savannah is currently a PhD candidate in Dr. Denise Ferkey’s lab and has worked as a teaching assistant in the Genetics and Developmental Biology lab courses.
Savannah was nominated by Dr. James Berry, who described Savannah as "one of the most dedicated, motivated, and skilled teaching assistants that I have worked with.” The Developmental Biology lab uses many advanced techniques, involving systems as diverse as transgenic plants, zebrafish, and nematodes. Savannah "put in extra effort to become very proficient in each of the techniques, as well as the scientific background.” She also took a hand in reworking labs and recording videos for online delivery during the pandemic shutdown. Notably, she developed a final exam review session, based on the TV game show “Jeopardy”, and this idea has been adopted by the other lab sections. Savannah was praised by her students for being "an amazing and thoughtful instructor”, and her "uplifting personality, professionalism, biology expertise and humble leadership".