2016 - 2017 PIE Associates

2016-2017 PIE Teaching Associates



Ashley Artese

Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences, College of Human Sciences

Ashley Artese, a native of Sewell, New Jersey, is currently a doctoral student majoring in Exercise Physiology here at Florida State University. Prior to returning to school to pursue a PhD, Ashley worked as an exercise physiologist and group exercise coordinator for Georgetown Hospital System in Pawleys Island, SC.  She holds a master’s degree in exercise science from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the College of William and Mary. She is currently a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, where she instructs Exercise Physiology laboratories. She also served as a teaching assistant and the resident tutor of Preston Residential College while at the University of South Carolina. She is excited to be PIE Associate this year and looks forward to the opportunity to serve her department and the university teaching assistants!  

Danisha Baker

Statistics, College of Arts & Sciences

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” These words stuck with Danisha since becoming a Florida State Seminole in 2009 and embarking on her journey to become an educator. Danisha received Bachelor of Science degrees in Psychology and Statistics in 2012, followed by a master’s degree in biostatistics in 2014. Danisha is currently a 5th year doctoral student in the Department of Statistics where she focuses on Bayesian analysis and wavelet theory.  During her time at FSU Danisha has instructed Statistics for Biology,

Statistics for Business, Intro to Applied Statistics, and was a TA for the Physiological Psychology labs within the Psychology Department. She has learned through her experience as an instructor that teachers can be guided by a general pedagogy while also being mindful of the students varying needs. Danisha looks forward to inspiring, motivating, and forming great teaching relationships with all graduate instructors and faculty through the PIE program.

Briana Carroll

Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, College of Arts & Sciences

Originally from Chicago, IL, Briana Carroll received her B.A. in neuroscience from Oberlin College and is a doctoral candidate in neuroscience in FSU’s psychology department.  Her research explores how the auditory system is restructured in response to deafness.  At the college level, she has taught Sensation and Perception laboratories and, currently, the lecture class Introduction to Brain and Behavior.  She has also designed and presented a course on Neuroplasticity through FSU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Center.  She loves helping neuroscience students of all ages appreciate our evolving understanding of the brain.

Michelle Cates

Educational Psychology & Learning Systems, College of Education

Michelle Cates is a school librarian of 19 years whose professional goal has been inspiring students and teachers to embrace media and technology.  A native South Floridian, she moved to Tallahassee specifically to attend FSU and is delighted in the university’s community and support.  Michelle earned a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida Atlantic University, and an M.A. in Library and Information Sciences from University of South Florida. Now in her second year pursuing a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies, Michelle teaches Educational Technology to aspiring teachers in the undergraduate College of Education program.  Extensive experience providing professional development and mentorship for teachers throughout Florida has taught Michelle the value of each person’s unique knowledge.  She is excited for this opportunity to work with teaching assistants and professionals across campus through PIE.  

Jeffrey Conley

Economics, College of Social Sciences and Public Policy

Jeffrey Conley is a third year student in the Ph.D. program for Economics here at FSU. He has passed the preliminary examinations and is currently finishing coursework and sifting through possible dissertation ideas. His area of interest is urban economics with a focus on public education for low income groups. He has been a teaching assistant for a variety of economics courses, and taught microeconomics in the summer of 2016. He will soon be teaching an online class, Common Sense Economics. Jeff believes that students learn to appreciate economics when they relate it to their everyday lives, they learn to love it when they realize that the subtleties and nuances of economics make it a field with endless opportunities for exploration.

Gokila Dorai

Computer Science, College of Arts & Sciences

Gokila Dorai is a third-year PhD student. She has a deep interest to teach Computer Science. She was also nominated for PIE’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in the year 2015. Gokila Dorai aims to become a teaching faculty at a research university after receiving her doctoral degree. She is passionate about introducing state-of-the-art teaching practices in classroom. Some methodologies she is interested in adopting during her teaching sessions are group discussions, student presentations, and mobile technology for interactive answering. She is also passionate about interacting with women to understand the challenges faced by women in the field of computing. Also, she celebrates every moment of her motherhood enjoying her lovely daughter. 

Elyssa ‘Ellie’ Fenton

Modern Languages & Linguistics, College of Arts & Sciences

Ellie Fenton is currently in her first year of coursework in the Spanish PhD program with a focus in linguistics. She earned her MA in Spanish from FSU, and her BA in Spanish and in International Studies from Wittenberg University. Her doctorate research will be in linguistics, specifically in Second Language Acquisition, as she has an interest in developing effective pedagogies for basic language programs. She has taught SPN 1120 and SPN 1121, and has acted as coordinator for the 1120 level. This will be her second year as a PIE Associate.


Kate Hill

Biological Science, College of Arts & Sciences

After earning her BS in Biology at Stanford University, Kate worked with Teach For America for three years as a middle school science teacher in Houston, Texas.  Kate’s passion for science and teaching has led her to FSU to pursue her PhD.  Her professional goal is to become a teaching faculty and to develop programs that support first generation college students in their transition to undergraduate coursework, particularly in the sciences.  At FSU, Kate has assisted in developing the new Biology 2 Laboratory, which incorporates inquiry-based learning methods, and has taught Biology for Non-majors.  Kate is a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolution and has enjoyed sharing her research experience by mentoring undergraduates.  Kate hopes to continue refining her teaching practice and looks forward to serving the Biology Department and the graduate teaching assistant community in her role as a PIE Associate.

David Jeffcoat

Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences

David Jeffcoat is currently a graduate student in the Chemistry department working under Dr. Albert Stiegman.  Born and raised in Irmo, South Carolina, he graduated with honors from Clemson University with a B.S. in chemistry.  Being a teaching assistant for general chemistry and organic lectures and labs has allowed him to see the general concepts that plague everyone from freshmen to seniors.  He believes that grades shouldn’t be the only measure of success in the classroom.  A student should feel that they learned material that they can use in the long-term and hopefully they can have a good time learning.  David is participating in the Preparing Future Faculty program at FSU so that he can continue to teach at the college level upon graduation. 

Deborah Kochman

Theatre, College of Fine Arts

Deborah Kochmanis beginning her fourth year as a doctoral student in Theatre Studies. She earned her BA in English and MA in Literature at USF.  Before coming to FSU, Deborah taught English composition at USF and was the Learning Support Services Coordinator at USF Sarasota-Manatee where she established the campus’ tutoring program and designed graduate and undergraduate courses to train writing tutors.  Here at FSU, Deborah has worked as a teaching assistant in theatre history courses for both majors and non-majors. Her scholarly work focuses on trauma studies, particularly looking at age and violence in Western culture. As a theatre practitioner, Deborah has worked as a dramaturg for FSU’s 2014 production of Romeo and Juliet, Polyphonic Bonsai’s Oedipus Revenant and Oedipus Reborn; she recently completed both writing and assistant directing for a collaborative project titled One Hundred Years of Hope, an original work that explored issues of age, race, and violence in the United States. 

Vincent Lakey

Physics, College of Arts & Sciences

Vincent is a fourth year Ph.D student in Astrophysics studying properties of intergalactic gas.  He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and received his Master’s degree from Florida State. He has taught all the introductory physics courses and is now assisting in studio courses that help bring technology and group based learning to first year physics students. In the future, he plans to become a university professor with a teaching focus. 


Carmen Maria Marcous

Philosophy, College of Arts & Sciences

Carmen is a student in the doctoral program in Philosophy at Florida State University, where she has earned dual master's degrees in philosophy and the history and philosophy of science. Her instructional experience includes service with Teach for America, the Head Start Program, and ACES Academic Tutoring. Carmen serves as an instructor and teaching assistant for undergraduate courses in philosophy. This is her third year of service as an associate for the Program for Instructional Excellence. 


Ana Ndumu

Information, College of Communication & Information

Ana Ndumu is a doctoral student in Information Studies at the School of Information. She has over twelve years of academic library and college teaching experience. Her research interests entail social justice in libraries, information literacy, the digital divide as well as the cross between cultural heritage and information behavior. Ana teaches undergraduate courses in information science, including Information Ethics. She completed her undergraduate studies in English at the University of Florida and also earned a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Florida State. A native of Central America, Ana enjoys traveling and the outdoors. This is her first year of service as an associate for the Program for Instructional Excellence.

Lacey Ritter

Sociology, College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

Lacey Ritter is currently in her fourth year of her Ph.D. program in sociology, working on her prospectus and developing her skills as a teacher and researcher. With an emphasis on health and aging, Lacey is focusing on health differences in elderly populations based on their sexual orientation. Lacey received her B.A. in sociology and anthropology from the University of Northern Iowa and her M.A. in sociology with a college teaching emphasis from Minnesota State University-Mankato. Lacey has taught a variety of courses, including Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Methods for Social Research, Sociological Theory, and Social Psychology. She also created a class – Sociology of Death and Dying – which led to her nomination and subsequent reception of the PIE Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in 2016. Teaching is Lacey’s first passion – being able to see students understand and comprehend social matters and have them make an impact on their futures is extremely rewarding and a goal she hopes to continue reaching throughout her career.

Felicia Youngblood

Musicology, College of Music

Felicia is a third-year PhD student in Musicology at FSU’s College of Music, where she has taught American Roots Music, Modern Popular Music, Survey of Music Literature, and Music Literature, Listening, and Understanding. She received her MM in Ethnomusicology from FSU in 2013 and her BA in Music Education from Catawba College in 2011. Felicia’s research explores music, gender, and healing in the Southern Italian tarantella ritual and in US pagan communities. She began field research in these areas in 2015 when she was named a Carol Krebs Research Fellow Award recipient. She continues her research in Italy this year under the 2016 FSU Musicology Area Summer Research Award. Felicia looks forward to teaching both American Roots Music and World Music for majors and non-majors in the upcoming school year. She hopes to continue refining her teaching skills in and out of the classroom by building meaningful relationships with her students and colleagues that lead to fruitful engagement on the topics of music and culture!