Erik Katovich, a Ph.D. student in Agricultural and Applied Economics, is among fifteen graduate students at UW–Madison to win 2019 Campus-Wide Teaching Assistant Awards. Erik was honored with an Early Excellence in Teaching Award.
Erik’s research focuses on the political economy of natural resource governance. He studies how oil booms affect public finances, and how local politicians and interest groups influence deforestation in Brazil. He has taught the course The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy. Erik’s passion for teaching about development economics comes from his own experiences as a student who sought out economics classes as a way to understand how to fix problems such as poverty, hunger, and inequality – yet was often frustrated that the classes never went beyond models and equations.
“In my teaching, I therefore tried to connect abstract economic ideas to real-world challenges. I encouraged students to critique the models we were learning and to think critically about big questions. I know many of my students came into the class passionate about understanding and solving global development challenges. I wanted to empower them with analytical tools and encourage them to keep thinking about these issues,” Erik says. “If students took one thing away from the class, I hope it was the ability to be more critical, thoughtful global citizens.”
Contributions of the more than 2,100 TAs at UW–Madison are essential to the university’s educational mission. To recognize the excellence of TAs across campus, the Graduate School supports the College of Letters & Science in administering these awards. Honorees will receive their awards at a reception on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 3:30-5 pm in 911 Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Dr.
Read more about the other award winners here.