Graduate Studies

2020-2021 Graduate Assistant of the Year Awards

The Office of Graduate Studies is pleased to announce the sixth annual Graduate Assistant (GA) of the Year awards. Each year we recognize the hard work and excellence of our Graduate, Research, and Teaching Assistants by asking supervisors to nominate those GAs who consistently go above and beyond. From amongst those nominations, two awardees are selected: New GA of the Year and Returning GA of the year. 

To honor their contributions to the USM community, the Office of Graduate Studies has awarded all of our nominees and winners a small gift of appreciation.


Graduate Assistants of the Year:


New GA of the Year - Seth Diemond, Graduate Assistant, Promise Scholars Program

Seth has been an invaluable and phenomenal addition to the Promise Scholarship Program in his role as Graduate Assistant. In a time of rapid growth and program expansion, Seth has been instrumental in leading the charge to develop and implement a new arm of Promise - entitled the “Boulos Veteran Scholars Program.”

Seth excelled in the challenge of taking the “big ideas” from the funded proposal and incrementally transforming these ideas into a cohesive, actionable plan. With a strong understanding of the research, Seth was instrumental in outlining the scholarship’s objectives, mission statement and presented our vision and implementation plan to the Boulos Veteran Scholars Advisory Board. Seth’s consistent and fruitful efforts have been vital in developing this innovative and “without borders'' program. Seth
has demonstrated great determination and methodical implementation and I
cannot think of a more deserving candidate for Graduate Student Employee of
the Year.


Returning GA of the Year - Rachel Cray, Teaching Assistant, Biology Department

Rachel has been a valuable part of the Biology team for the past two years. She has a sincere interest in teaching, a very patient manner with students, an excellent sense of scientific approaches, and she creates thoughtful and effective course assignments. I've worked with Rachel for many years now, and it has been wonderful to see her grow and become the incredibly competent and professional scientist and teacher that she is today.

Rachel goes above and beyond. She adds improvements and modifications and has developed very effective new materials of her own. She considers learning goals and incorporates ways in which students can be effectively challenged to better learn the material. Her student-focused attitude is commendable. Rachel is very deserving of the recognition that comes with this award.



Bianca Arencino, Graduate Assistant, ESOL

Pearl Ivonne Armstrong, Graduate Assistant, Statistics

Joanna Benoit, Research Assistant, Food Studies 

Katherine Garcia Molina, Graduate Assistant, Intercultural Student Engagement 

Jillian Littlefield, Graduate Assistant, University Counseling Services

Jacqueline Lyman, Graduate Assistant, Educational and School Psychology

Nicole Tourigny, Theresa “Grace” McKenzie, Victoria St. Louis, Garrett Erb, Helen Russell, Natalie Bornstein, Nicole Wickstrom, Graduate Assistants: USM Care Managers, University Health Services