2024 Anderson-Darling Award Winner Shares Her Passion for Teaching

Josh Duke

The Anderson-Darling Family Graduate Teaching Assistant Award was established to recognize a doctoral student in the department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) for their exceptional teaching ability as a graduate teaching assistant. This year’s winner of the award, Trinity Johnston, embodies the spirit of the award. Trinity Johnston is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in HDFS.

Trinity JohnstonTeaching and learning have always been a part of her life. At a young age, her favorite game was playing school with her two younger brothers. She would often find herself helping them with their homework and school projects. “If you asked my brothers how they felt about my help, they would likely say that it was annoying because I actually helped them to learn the material rather than doing their assignments for them,” Trinity says.

From grade school to her undergraduate, she put her studies first and foremost. These efforts consistently landed her on the Dean’s or President’s List. Her love of learning drives her desire to work with students, and at FSU she has taught seven courses during her doctoral studies. “Knowing that I am able to inspire students’ passions for learning encourages my commitment to education,” she says. “As an educator, I find that fueling students’ love for learning and witnessing the acquisition of knowledge provides me with a sense of joy, fulfillment, and determination.”

Her students also respond to her passion, and Trinity has saved some of the best feedback she has received from her students as a constant reminder of her “why.” She believes that the reason why so many students respond positively to her teaching style is because of her emphasis on mutual respect and communication. “As learners, we all owe it to each other to approach with respect and communicate efficiently and professionally. I also instruct while considering accessibility and inclusivity.”

As she watches her students grow and learn, her own love for learning is reinforced. Deep into her doctoral studies, Trinity sees teaching as a way to stay invigorated and progress towards her ultimate career goals. But teaching also satisfies very practical needs, as her teaching assistantships pay for her education. The Anderson-Darling Family Graduate Teaching Assistant Award helps contribute to improving her quality of life and reducing the burden of living expenses.

“My career goals revolve around academia and teaching, so this award is a true honor,” she says.