Baylor Geosciences Graduate Student Honored with Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

February 18, 2019
Jiajun (Dylan) Jiang

Baylor Geosciences Ph.D. student and teaching assistant Jiajun (Dylan) Jiang received the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Outstanding TA Award for demonstrating excellence in his teaching assistant position. (Photo courtesy of Jiajun Jiang)

Media Contact: Eric M. Eckert, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-1964
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by Gabrielle White, student newswriter, Baylor University Media and Public Relations

WACO, Texas (Feb. 18, 2019) – Jiajun (Dylan) Jiang, teaching assistant and Ph.D. candidate in the department of geosciences in Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences, was selected as a recipient of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Outstanding TA Award for demonstrating excellence in his teaching assistant position.

“I enjoy the fulfillment, contribution and passion I get from my teaching experience,” Jiang said. “Baylor has a really good development opportunity for being a good teaching assistant, and I am grateful my class loves to learn what I teach.”

Jiang was nominated by colleagues Sharon Browning, teaching laboratory coordinator in the department of geosciences, and Daniel Peppe, Ph.D., associate professor of geosciences and graduate program director.

“Dylan has consistently improved both his communication and instructional skills, and he has been one of our top graduate teaching assistants over the last few semesters based on his teaching evaluations,” Browning and Peppe said. “He strives to communicate effectively and guide students through the process of science. As a result, he has become an effective teacher and his input on teaching materials and exercises is valued.”

Jiang’s doctoral research focuses on machine learning and geologic modeling. He is advised by Scott James, Ph.D., assistant professor of geosciences, whose teaching skills have carried over into Jiang’s classroom.

“His teaching philosophy is: As a teacher, no matter what difficulties you face, you always need to encourage your students and never give anything that makes students disappointed,” Jiang said. “As his student, I benefited from this teaching philosophy a lot, and I deliver these to my students.”

The NAGT supports a diverse, inclusive and thriving community of educators and education researchers to improve teaching and learning about the Earth. The NAGT’s vision is to build geoscience expertise and an Earth-literate society through high-quality education, and is committed to improving geoscience teaching and student learning.

In recognition of his award, Jiang received a one-year membership to NAGT, through which he hopes to improve his teaching skills. A membership includes virtual and face-to-face professional development workshops, online teaching resources and opportunities to collaborate internationally with colleagues.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments and seven academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit