The College of Science is proud to congratulate Dr. Ayah Al Qaryoute for receiving UNT's 2023 Outstanding Teaching Fellows / Teaching Assistants Award from the Faculty Senate! This award recognizes and celebrates outstanding graduate students who have served as Teaching Fellows or Teaching Assistants during the previous calendar year and is accompanied with a $500 scholarship. Candidates nominated for these awards have demonstrated superior teaching and academic performance as graduate students.
"I am deeply touched and filled with gratitude to receive this fantastic award," said Dr. Al Qaryoute, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation this March. "This recognition means a lot to me and motivates me to continue striving for excellence in my teaching and to inspire my students to reach their fullest potential. I also want to express my sincerest appreciation to everyone who made this possible. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."
Dr. Al Qaryoute's academic career started in Jordan, where she attended eight years of medical school and internships to become a fully licensed physician. After practicing medicine for a year, she realized she was more passionate about scientific research and discovery and started looking into PhD programs in the United States.
"I searched for the top schools in Texas and discovered that UNT had an excellent reputation for offering quality research experience and exceptional support services to graduate students, along with the availability of various research opportunities, a diverse student community, and a vibrant campus culture," she said. "Considering all these great factors I was very motivated to apply and was overjoyed when I received my acceptance letter."
With her acceptance to UNT, Dr. Al Qaryoute moved to Texas to begin her PhD in the Spring of 2017 and started teaching the next semester alongside her research responsibilities. She cites her background in medicine as a big component to her teaching success.
"As a trained medical doctor, I have the opportunity to deliver to my students relevant and current topics in diverse subjects related to Human Anatomy and Physiology, which has kept every student engaged and excited," she said. "My medical experience has afforded me the unique opportunity to treat the conditions and diseases taught in many of the classes I teach."
Dr. Al Qaryoute said that she is grateful for the support UNT offers to graduate students, and the opportunity to gain teaching experience as part of her PhD journey. Early on in her time at UNT, she participated in the Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program (GSTEP), where she learned from experts who offered valuable insights and helped her implement successful teaching practices in her classroom. Building on this foundation for success, she now enjoys being able to make a difference in the lives of her students.
"The joy and thrill of watching my students learn, grow, and reach their goals have been the most fulfilling experience for me," she said. "I believe that when a student truly understands the concepts, real learning takes place, allowing them to build on their knowledge and carry those concepts into the future."
During medical school, Dr. Al Qaryoute had the unique opportunity to watch and learn from her father, a distinguished medical doctor in Jordan and a former Professor of Surgery who taught for two decades.
"I watched intently as he designed and delivered his course materials," she said. "I observed how he could relate to students from a wide range of backgrounds. He made every student feel like they were the only one in class and found ways of bringing out the best in them. He always took his time answering questions and visiting with students after class. These traits have become engrained in my teaching style."
Under the guidance of UNT biological sciences professor and researcher Dr. Pudur Jagadeeswaran, Dr. Al Qaryoute successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation titled "Role of microRNAs in Zebrafish Thrombopoesis" this spring. She is currently in the process of seeking a job that combines her PhD training and medical background.
"I am so excited to move on to the next phase of my life and obtain a teaching position at a university level and in a medical school like my father," she said.