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Educational Psychology PhD Students Honored for Teaching [05/08/2023]


Davis, Ryland, Hebda

L-R: Dr. Tonya Davis, professor of educational psychology, with graduate instructor award recipients Nori Ryland and Maryann Hebda, both PhD candidates in the Department of Educational Psychology.

By Collyn Sebastian

Maryann Hebda, a second-year PhD candidate doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Nori Ryland, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Educational Psychology, were both recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award for their teaching during the Spring 2022 semester.

This award is given by the Baylor Graduate School fo graduate students who work as Teachers of Record and who are recognized for their outstanding teaching by students, and faculty. Recipients are honored at a luncheon, given a plaque, and awarded an additional travel award to use to attend conferences that will further their teaching careers.

Maryann Hebda

Maryann Hebda

Hebda was an undergrad at Nebraska Wesleyan University and obtained her masters from Emporia State University. She taught for a year at a public school before enrolling in Baylor’s doctoral program. She taught EDP 4351, Differentiated Instruction, which teaches future teachers in special education and gifted and talented education to make assignments accessible to all students in their class.

“I have worked with many incredible students and teachers over the years,” Hebda said. “They have always been my inspiration to push myself outside of my comfort zone, from learning cutting-edge STEM concepts to pursuing a doctorate in Educational Psychology. Through studying education, I hope to make a positive impact on future students’ school experiences.”

Nori Ryland

Nori Ryland

Ryland was an undergrad student at Pennsylvania State University and studied for her Master of Education at the University of Georgia. At Baylor, she taught EDP 3368, Assessment of Students with Mild Disabilities, which focuses on formal and informal assessment currently used in special education for students with mild disabilities.

“After teaching for a few years, I was interested in returning to graduate school and then later to pursue my doctorate,” Ryland said. “I knew I wanted to specialize in supporting learners in the school setting, especially those needing behavioral interventions.”

Both PhD candidates said they have enjoyed the opportunities at Baylor.

Hebda said, “Baylor has given me the opportunity to teach an incredible group of people – pre-service teachers! I have grown so much by seeing education through their eyes. I am grateful for the opportunity to guide them along the journey to their own classrooms.”

Ryland noted, “The resources available have helped me so much as an instructor, expanding my skills in teaching in postsecondary settings, both in person and online. Through getting to work with fabulous undergraduate students here at Baylor, I have learned so much from them and the learners they are working with. It has exposed me to the joys of working with young adults as they plan for future careers.”

Hebda was recommended by Dr. Tonya Davis, professor of educational psychology, who said in her nomination letter that one of the first things you learn when you meet Hebda is that she absolutely loves to teach.

“It does not matter if she is teaching elementary students or college students, it is her passion, and she excels at it,” Davis wrote. “Her dedication to teaching, passion for education, conscientiousness, diligence to a task, and exceptional interpersonal skills were evident after only spending a few moments with her.”

Ryland was recommended by Dr. Tamara Hodges, clinical associate professor, who said Ryland was one of the most outstanding students she have ever taught in the School Psychology program.

“From the beginning of our graduate program at Baylor University, Nori stood out as a trailblazer and a leader,” Hodges wrote. “In addition, Nori demonstrates an internal drive, dedication to best practices, and a leadership quality that sets her above most other students.”


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For more than 100 years, the School of Education has advanced Baylor’s mission across the globe while preparing students for a range of careers focused on education, leadership, and human development. With more than 60 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation. Likewise, the School of Education’s graduate programs have attained national recognition for their exemplary preparation of research scholars, educational leaders, innovators, and clinicians. Visit to learn more.


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