Excellence Awards



The Graduate and Professional Student Association conducts the GPSA Excellence Awards each year. The GPSA Excellence awards are broken up into seven different categories: Graduate Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Graduate Student Instructor, Academic Advisor, Registered Student Organization, and Community Engagement. Nominations are accepted from students, peers, and advisors. Winners are announced in the Spring and recognized at our Spring awards banquet.


2020–2021 Awardees

Academic Advisor
Dr. Noel Schulz
Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture



Academic Advisor
Dr. Yuliya Ardasheva
College of Education



Graduate Staff Assistant

Adnan Mohamed
Graduate School



Graduate Student Instructor

Molla Mursaleen Shiraj
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences



Graduate Student Instructor

Afrin Islam
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences



Teaching Assistant

 Jasmine Ricke
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences



Research Assistant

Xianghui Zhang
Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture
Research Assistant

Rachel Wong
College of Education 

Food Engineering Club 
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences



College Rep of the year

Arian Karimitar 
College of Arts and Sciences




Senator of the year

Reanne Cunningham Chilton
College of Arts and Sciences




Senator of the year

Ninh Khuu
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences





Deadline for Nomination: March 31st, 2021

Excellence Award Categories

For more information about the scoring criteria, please see the Excellence Award Rubrics.

1. Academic Advisor

An excellent advisor is someone who is actively involved on campus with not only his or her own job but also multiple extracurricular activities and clubs. An excellent advisor is also someone who is always willing to help students and others in times of difficulty. Excellent advisors are also always continuously encourage and set example for their students to excel in the respective area. GPSA would like to take the honor the faculties who are exemplary in terms of guiding, helping, encouraging their students not based on their research excellence.



2. Graduate Staff Assistant

An excellent Graduate Staff Assistant and Graduate Staff Intern should have outstanding work ethics like outstanding integrity, emphasis on quality, outstanding punctuality, and outstanding cooperation. An excellent SA and GSI would show excellent commitment to a project during difficulties, should have a good grasp of relevant work and outstanding ability to think and work both in a group and independently.


3. Graduate Research Assistant

An excellent RA is the recipient of numerous awards in regards to their research, or has greatly contributed to any awards that their advisor may have been awarded. The RA displays a work ethic that goes above and beyond what is expected, they are rarely found to be slacking off during laboratory hours and spend a majority of the working day gathering, interpreting, and analyzing data. The excellent RA has the utmost commitment to their project, displayed by regularly clearing hurdles that are in their way as well as displaying a diverse array of research methods and practices and the completion of multiple research projects. They have also displayed an expert’s knowledge of relevant literature and knowledge in their respective field and they have tailor made their research plans along the gaps in the knowledge-base with little to no help from their advisor. The RA has a history of presentations both in their home department as well as a strong presence at conferences. While poster presentations are applauded, an excellent RA will likely have given a talk at a conference during their tenure in their lab. They also have a history of contributing to both publications and grants, although first author publications, and active proposal writing adds additional separation from their peers. They also have a tendency to do the extra work that may be needed in certain situations, and regularly meet deadlines that have been given to them.


4. Graduate Teaching Assistant

An excellent Teaching Assistant (TA) goes above and beyond meeting the minimum job requirements for their position. Excellence is defined by the following criteria: Attending all class meetings; serving as a liaison between students and the course instructor; holding office hours every week and ensuring that students know when office hours are held; helping struggling students by clarifying course material; grading assignments in a timely manner and including helpful, detailed recommendations and comments; genuinely caring about students’ success; communicating with students and ensuring that students are aware of who they are; hosting review sessions (when applicable); responding to students’ e-mails in a professional, helpful, and punctual manner; demonstrating knowledge of course material and sharing that knowledge with students; assisting the course’s instructor with teaching responsibilities (when applicable). Excellent TAs demonstrate a strong commitment to students by performing well in the aforementioned areas and go out of their way to ensure that academic success is achieved by students.


5. Graduate Student Instructor

An ‘excellent’ Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is one that is consistently prepared for class and has prepared lecture and/or discussion material that is able to last the entire class period. The GSI also should demonstrate knowledge on the subject being taught, as seen in the content of the lectures and/or discussions, as well as knowledge of questions posed by the students. An ‘excellent’ GSI should also demonstrate an active interest in the success of his/her students by the availability of office hours, responsiveness to student emails, fair and timely grading of exams and/or assignments, and outreach to students who are struggling in the course. The ‘excellent’ GSI should also be rated as an outstanding instructor by other faculty and students alike.


6. Registered Student Organization

An excellent RSO is one that organizes various events and activities that not only relate to their objective, but also support their members and non-members in the community. An excellent RSO is one that is collaborative, and willing to work effectively with other organizations to enhance the WSU community. An excellent RSO has a record of impact, or should be able to demonstrate their impact on the University and its students, faculty and/or staff. An excellent RSO can efficiently raise funds to produce their events and activities, and has demonstrated effective management of funds to continue their service to members.


7. Community Engagement

An excellent Community Engagement candidate goes above and beyond to help build and support the WSU-Pullman community. Excellence is defined by the following criteria: working with a diverse group of people; furthering WSU and Pullman values and goals; serving as a liaison between graduate students and the Pullman community; addressing a need or providing a valuable service to the community; enhanced their research by engaging with the community; and acting as a leader and role model in the community. Excellent candidates for this award demonstrate a strong commitment to improving the WSU-Pullman community through research, outreach, and/or service.


*For these nomination forms, TA's are considered graduate or professional students that aid an instructor/professor with managing coursework. Graduate Student Instructors are graduate or professional students that create coursework, instruct and direct the outcome of the class they teach.