NEW YORK: An Indian-origin student has received the 2022 Outstanding University Graduate Student Teaching Award for making outstanding contributions to teaching as part of his program and educational experience at Illinois State University.
Viraj Patel, a second-year doctoral student in the University’s School of Communication, was recognised for his “exemplary skill and dedication”. Patel has always been heavily involved in public speaking and communication, which became his way of defining himself, according to a University statement.”It’s amazing to receive recognition for teaching a subject that means so much to me and especially to be chosen by people who have seen and awarded incredible teachers throughout the years is an honor,” Patel said in a statement.
According to his LinkedIn profile, the student’s areas of teaching expertise include public speaking, rhetorical communication, and media theories. Patel said he has a love for public speaking and finds a sense of accomplishment when guiding students through the class. “Public speaking is so overwhelming, so I really like seeing those ‘a ha’ moments in students when they realise they can do this and that it isn’t as scary as they thought it would be,” he said in a statement released by the University.
He recently served as the Program Coordinator in the Office of Orientation Services at Illinois Wesleyan University, helping plan summer and fall semester orientation programs for 400-plus first year students. The Outstanding University Graduate Student Teaching Award recognises graduate teaching assistants who demonstrate persistent, focused, and purposeful dedication to striving for excellence.