Department of Statistics honors outstanding teaching assistants for 2023-2024

TA award winners 23-24

Each year, the Statistics Department’s Teaching Assistant (TA) Committee selects a group of outstanding TAs to recognize for their invaluable service to the department and the university. Awardees demonstrate dedication, professionalism, and a genuine passion for teaching.

They are not only instructors; they are mentors, leaders, and example-setters—all while completing their own rigorous graduate studies.

This year, the committee selected six students who consistently went above and beyond to serve their students. The awards recognize teaching excellence in 3 types of courses: gateway courses (STAT 301, STAT 324, STAT 371) which serve thousands of non-statistics majors every year; statistics courses that serve undergraduate students (excluding gateway courses); and statistics courses that serve graduate students. Winners receive $500 each, while honorable mentions receive $250.

The department proudly congratulates the six standout TAs below.

Winners: Outstanding Performance as a TA

L to R: Xinran Miao, Kyungjin Sohn

Graduate courses: Xinran Miao PhDx’26

Miao served as TA for STAT 849 (Regression and Analysis of Variance I) in fall 2023 and STAT 575 (Statistical Methods for Spatial Data) in spring 2024. One student said Miao “does a good job of explaining concepts in a simple manner and providing examples,” and is always “very helpful” during office hours. Another called Miao “kind and smart.”

Undergraduate courses: Young-Joo Yun PhDx’27

Yun helped teach STAT 240 (Data Science Modeling I) in both spring and fall semesters. Students raved about Yun as an “outstanding TA,” who “promptly answered” any questions with “a complete understanding of the material.” Another strength of Yun’s, a student said, is “approachability.” According to students, Yun “always had a smile on her face” and demonstrated consistent “positivity and excitement about statistics.”

Gateway courses: Kyungjin Sohn PhDx’28

Sohn assisted with STAT 371 (Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences) in both semesters. According to students, Sohn “provided great feedback on student work,” and “truly took the time to help each of us feel like we could succeed in the course.” Sohn “really cares about her students doing well,” one said, “and she always ensures that we understand the quizzes and homework assignments.”

Honorable Mention: Outstanding Performance as a TA

L to R: Zhihao Zhao, Auden Krauska, Beom Kwon

Graduate courses: Zhihao Zhao PhDx’27

Zhao helped teach STAT 610 (Introduction to Statistical Inference) in both fall and spring. Students emphasized how Zhao always came to class well-prepared; one pointed out that “his discussion materials are excellent and helped me understand core concepts of the course.” Another added that Zhao was “one of the best TA’s I’ve had throughout college.”

Undergraduate courses: Auden Krauska PhDx’28

Krauska assisted with STAT 479 (Special Topics in Statistics) in the fall and STAT 333 (Applied Regression Analysis) in the spring. Students explained that Krauska “did a great job of explaining topics and also being approachable.” Krauska was “fully ready to listen to and help with all of our questions,” one student said.

Gateway courses: Beom Kwon PhD x’28

Kwon served as TA for STAT 324 (Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers) in fall and STAT 371 (Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences) in the spring. “Besides knowing the topics for the class very well, Beom was an extremely kind person who always helped guide you to an answer,” a student remarked. Kwon is “always willing to help with any questions,” and “always seemed enthusiastic,” according to students.

The Department of Statistics is grateful for all of our TAs who commit themselves to inspiring every Badger in their classrooms, showing students the power of statistics and data science to solve interdisciplinary problems.

Congratulations once again to these six outstanding TAs!

For a list of previous Statistics Department award winners, visit this page.

Explore a full list of Statistics courses in the guide.