Samantha Oliver Receives 2018-19 Graduate Student Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

Portrait of Samantha Oliver

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Penn has awarded doctoral candidate Samantha Oliver a 2018-19 Graduate Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.

CTL Graduate Fellows are nominated for their teaching excellence by their schools or departments and then selected in a highly selective process by CTL from a strong pool of university-wide nominees. Between 10 and 14 fellows are typically chosen each year.

CTL’s Graduate Fellowship for Teaching Excellence program honors graduate students who are dedicated to excellent teaching and is designed to foster conversations about teaching in order to help graduate students develop as teachers. Graduate Fellows organize and facilitate teaching workshops in their departments and across the university, observe graduate students teaching and offer feedback, and meet regularly as a fellows group to discuss teaching practices.

At Annenberg, Oliver served twice as a teaching fellow for COMM 123: Critical Approaches to Popular Culture taught by Professor Litty Paxton. Last summer she also co-taught a summer version of the course with fellow doctoral candidate Rosemary Clark-Parsons.

In addition, last summer she taught four sections in the Penn Summer Prep Program. She will be teaching two additional sections this summer.

This past semester, she was a teaching fellow for Professor Amy Bleakley’s Teens and Screens class (COMM 245). She also served as a teaching fellow for COMM 339: Critical Perspectives in Journalism taught by Professor Barbie Zelizer and taught the course herself in the summer of 2016.

“Many of us grad students are passionate about teaching, and I hope to create spaces where we can further develop our own teaching styles, as well as engage with pedagogical issues affecting our field in particular and universities more broadly,” says Oliver. “Teaching has been the most enjoyable and rewarding aspect of my time here at Annenberg, and I’m looking forward to many productive sessions and conversations with students, faculty, and CTL over the next year.” 

Oliver is currently working on her dissertation, tentatively titled, “Cold War, Hot Memory: A Comparative study of Cold War Commemoration in the US, Russia, and Germany.” It aims to illuminate the effects of the Cold War on contemporary war commemoration and collective memory practice through a comparative study of the politics, rhetoric, and circulation of Cold War monuments and memorials.