Writer: Courtney Coufal
College Station – Four graduate students in the Department of Animal Science are recipients of the 2014 Ronnie L. Edwards Graduate Teaching Award in recognition of their important contributions as graduate students to the undergraduate student experience.
Amanda Bradbery, Clay Eastwood, Crystal Waters and Lance Bauer were presented the award during the department’s Christmas luncheon held Dec. 4 at the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex.
The Ronnie L. Edwards Graduate Teaching Award was created in remembrance of Dr. Edwards, who served as associate head for the Department of Animal Science and spent more than two decades working with graduate students. One of his major activities was coordinating the teaching assistantships for the department, helping to ensure the best graduate teachers possible for the courses taught.
Bradbery is seeking a master’s in animal science under the direction of Dr. Josie Coverdale and has been an integral part of the equine teaching program since she started her graduate work in 2012, according to the nomination.
Bradbery graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech University where she spent time teaching several undergraduate riding classes and serving as an assistant coach for the equestrian team. While at Texas A&M, she has served as a teaching assistant for ANSC 311 Equine Behavior and Training and ANSC 289 Equine Safety and Handling, a newly formed equine safety and handling course. In addition, Bradbery has served as the graduate assistant to Parson’s Mounted Cavalry where her responsibilities included providing riding instructions, mentoring of cadets, care of horses and preparation for public appearances including Texas A&M football games.
Bradbery “is one of the rare graduate students qualified to teach every course offered in our equine curriculum. Not only is she knowledgeable, but extremely approachable, personable, and relates to a variety of student personality traits. She finds ways to motivate all students in her laboratories and strives to continuously improve her teaching style and skills,” according to her nominator.
“Throughout these labs, Amanda maintains a positive attitude that is contagious to the students.”
Eastwood is a two-time graduate of the Texas A&M Department of Animal Science. She is currently seeking a doctorate in animal science working under the direction of Dr. Jeff Savell and Dr. Kerri Gehring.
As an undergraduate and master’s student with an interest in meat science, Eastwood participated in multiple extracurricular and work/internship experiences that have provided her with real-world knowledge and confidence to effectively teach students.
As a graduate student, she has taught ANSC 307 Meats laboratory sections every semester since spring 2013, has assisted with ANSC 437 for three semesters and has helped with the Texas Barbecue class for two years.
As evidenced by her teaching evaluations, the students enjoy Eastwood’s classes. She has demonstrated her ability to effectively teach a complex subject and motivate undergraduates in our department.
According to her nominator, “Clay is a dedicated teacher, and her passion and quest for knowledge have contributed to her ability to relate to the students and to encourage them to do more than the minimum requirements. … She challenges her students and treats each one with respect – definitely traits of a great teacher.”
In addition, Eastwood is a leader outside of the classroom. She has assisted her fellow graduate students with their research projects, and has been actively involved in teaching small groups during Beef 101, Beef 706 and Pork 101 as well as Barbecue Summer Camps and Camp Briskets. Also, Clay represents the Department of ANSC at trade shows by working at the departmental booth.
Waters is seeking a doctorate in animal science under the direction of Dr. Jeff Savell.
Prior to entering Texas A&M, Waters earned a bachelor’s at California State University, Chico; and a master’s in animal science from California State University, Fresno. While at Fresno State, Waters successfully served as the meat judging team coach.
At Texas A&M, Waters has become a valuable part of the meat science program providing key leadership in teaching, research and extension/outreach. She serves as a teaching assistant for ANSC 307 Meats laboratories and coached the 2014 Meat Judging Team which included assisting Dr. Davey Griffin in teaching the meat judging class, ANSC 317. Her students and team members alike agree that Water’s dedication and enthusiasm for meat science make her an effective teacher and valued mentor.
One student said, “Her dedication and belief in us is incredible and she brought the best out in all of us. … She truly will do anything for us.”
In addition, Waters has been involved in a variety of Extension programs such as Beef 101, Beef 706, Pork 101 and Barbecue Summer Camp. In each endeavor, Crystal works to be the best she can be.
According to her nominator, “Crystal has so many traits that make her so worthy of this award: she is passionate, caring, driven and competitive. Because of her love of teaching, she is a great candidate for this award.”
Bauer, from Ingram, Texas is seeking a master’s in animal breeding under the direction of Dr. James Sanders and Dr. David Riley
Since entering graduate school in January 2013, Bauer has taught six semesters and sessions of ANSC 305 Animal Breeding laboratories and is responsible for writing assignments, teaching the lab, grading lab assignments and assigning lab grades. In addition, he has taught four semesters and one summer session of ANSC 108 Intro to Animal Science laboratories and is currently a lab instructor for ANSC 406 Beef Cattle Production and Management.
As an instructor, Bauer consistently receives excellent student evaluations and this simply confirms his teaching abilities. He is always well prepared and willing to help students outside of class, and is well respected by his students.
According to one letter of support, “Lance has been very conscientious about the instructorship commitment and worked hard to ensure that his students had a good learning experience in the laboratory. He distinguished himself in that he has a broad background in animal agriculture so could share educational stories with his students to bring the subject matter to life.”
“Lance has taken his role as a laboratory instructor seriously and it has paid dividends for his students. The students responded by performing well academically in his class while gaining a greater appreciate for animal agriculture.”
The Ronnie L. Edwards Graduate Teaching Award in Animal Science is presented yearly and winners are selected based on nominations and supporting letters from department faculty.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.