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Riley Hale
March 3, 2022

CEE graduate student Riley Hale wins TA Award

Written By: Staff

Civil and Environmental Engineering master’s student Riley Hale has won a University of Wisconsin-Madison 2021 Teaching Assistant Award.

Riley Hale
Riley Hale

The TA Awards are campus-wide recognition for excellence across six categories. Hale won an Early Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes outstanding and inspirational performance on the part of teaching assistants with less than four semesters of teaching experience.

Hale is an environmental engineering student whose studies focus on spatiotemporal dynamics of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in Lake Mendota. He’s a graduate research assistant in Katherine (Trina) McMahan’s lab and a 2021 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships Program fellow.

Hale teaches environmental engineering, and has drawn inspiration from his favorite teachers.

“Of course, I appreciate someone who knows the material, can explain complex concepts well, and puts effort into their teaching,” he says. “But what makes the most difference as a student is having a teacher who is real—someone who I can tell cares about me and wants to help me succeed. That’s what I strive to be for my students. It’s easy to become objective and dispassionate in STEM, but I find students learn better when they can relate material to the real world. Engineering does not happen in a vacuum, so I think it’s incredibly important to teach engineering within the context of our complex society.”