Student Instructional Leadership Team (SILT)

The Student Instructional Leadership Team (SILT) was organized in the fall of 2009 with an objective to aid engineering undergraduates in each version of the First-Year Engineering Program (Standard, Honors, Scholars, and Transfers). SILT manages over 2,000 students as well as 200 teaching assistants and helps with various First-Year Engineering Program (FEP) resources, such as its laboratories and computer facilities. The team offers assistance in a wide range of topics, including all first-year courses, teaching assistant (TA) training, and computer programming.

The leadership team strives to enhance the program’s learning objectives, support curriculum enhancements, and create consistency.

SILT also supports TAs through training to further their teaching, professional, and personal development and foster general improvements across the program. 

Examples of SILT's events and programs include:

  • Develop and oversee training which includes
    • Content
    • Grading
    • Labs
    • Design Projects
  • professional development opportunities
  • end of semester soiree & awards program
  • department outreach
  • other social events

SILT Goals

Support and mentor new student employees ― Due to the transient nature of university education, there is a constant flow of new TAs entering and experienced TAs exiting the program. SILT provides TAs of any experience level with a place where they can seek help, advice, or materials; this includes training new employees as well as updating returning TAs with regards to curriculum changes.

Meet FEP Program learning objectives through continued support for curriculum enhancements ― Many of SILT’s members are also in charge of curriculum improvements. Members who have curriculum duties work directly with other student employees and faculty.

Provide professional development opportunities for student employees ― The FEP Program offers professional development opportunities to student employees through activities and services provided by SILT.

Create consistency ― The FEP Program serves over 2,000 students every year and employs nearly 200 student employees. SILT wants each student to receive an experience consistent with other students in the program and strives to provide our student employees with the tools to make that happen. Consistency within sections, between sections of the program, and from year-to-year is SILT’s end goal.

Department Outreach  SILT is called upon to represent the department to outside institutions and industry partners. This takes the form of hosting lab demonstrations, curriculum discussions, and creating recruitment materials.


SILT members are selected from current TAs through an application process that occurs each spring semester. To be eligible for any instructional leadership position within the FEP Program, prospective students must have served in a teaching role for at least one year prior to their term.

Current SILT Members

First-Year Engineering:

Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs): Rahel Beyene, Sarah Hulbert George

Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTAs): Nick Harvey, Mary Therese Lavelle, Ben Schneider

First-Year Engineering – Honors:

Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs): David Frank, Drew Phillips

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA): Emma Eding, Griffin Maxwell

Contact Information

Lisa Abrams, Ph.D, P.E.

Associate Chair, Department of Engineering Education