Literacy and English Language Arts Education Doctoral Student Nina Schoonover ‘21PHD Receives NC State Graduate Student Association Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching

Nina Schoonover

NC State College of Education doctoral student Nina Schoonover ‘21PHD has been selected to receive the NC State Graduate Student Association (GSA) Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching. She is one of 20 award recipients who will receive a certificate of recognition as well as a monetary award from the Graduate Student Association.

Ten graduate student teachers earned the Award in Excellence in Classroom Teaching, while 10 others were selected for the Award in Excellence in Laboratory Teaching.

“Teaching is not only my career, but it’s my life’s work, so I feel excited and honored to have been selected for a Teaching Assistant Award,” Schoonover said. “As a current instructor of pre-service teachers, I hope to inspire them to love education as much as I do.”

Schoonover, who is an instructor of record for ECI 306: Middle Grades Reading Across the Content Areas, is pursuing a Ph.D. in Teaching Education and Learning Sciences (TELS) in the program area of study in literacy and English Language Arts education.

“I studied English language and literature for my undergraduate degree, so I am passionate about the study of language arts, but I am equally passionate about pedagogy and how we not only study a subject area, but develop knowledge and understanding of how to teach it as well,” she said.

The NC State GSA has been recognizing outstanding graduate student teachers since the 1970s. Applications, which consist of letters of recommendation from faculty and students, teaching evaluations and/or teaching portfolios, are submitted by graduate program directors and evaluated by the GSA Teaching Excellence Committee.

Schoonover was inspired to become a teacher because she wanted to pass on her love for reading and writing to her students.

“I saw students who struggled in school simply because they were never given the right book or asked to write their own story,” she said. “I love finding everyone’s passion for reading and writing — because we all have one — by offering choice in literature and writing assignments.”

That inspiration keeps her motivated today as she plans to work for a college or university in the field of English education so that she can continue teaching and conducting research.

Her current research is focused on visual and arts-based literacy in secondary English classrooms, which came out of her own experience as a teacher and her curricular decisions that sought to bring the arts back into the English Language Arts, she says.

“I chose education because I love the energy I feel from my students constructing new things, sharing their knowledge and experiences and learning from each other,” Schoonover said. “There is never a dull moment in the classroom.”