Grad student teaching awards 2012

Nineteen graduate students from across the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences were recognized for their superb efforts as teaching assistants at a reception on May 1. Awards were made by department based on overall teaching quality, student and course instructor evaluations, and letters from faculty. Graduate students from the Division of Science so recognized were:

  • Margeaux Auslander (Psychology – Verna Regan Award)
  • Keri Avery (Chemistry–general chemistry laboratory sections)
  • Michael Drzyzga (Chemistry–organic chemistry laboratory sections)
  • Qian Liu (Chemistry–upper level laboratory sections)
  • Lishibanya Mohapatra (Physics)
  • Matthew Moynihan (Mathematics)
  • Andrew Russell (Molecular and Cell Biology – Pulin Sampat Memorial Award)
  • Ross Shaull (Computer Science)

Teaching awards for Hickey & Thomas

Professor of Computer Science Tim Hickey and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Christine Thomas are among the 2012 winners of major Brandeis teaching awards.  Hickey won the Lerman-Neubauer ’69 Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. Thomas received the Michael L. Walzer ’56 Award for Teaching.

Among the comments from student nominators:

When I first met Professor Hickey in the fall of my first year during my COSI 2A class, he was incredibly knowledgeable, patient, encouraging and caring about our progress in his class…

Professor Christine Thomas might be the most dedicated, passionate teacher I have ever had…

See the full story at Brandeis NOW.

Making Freshman Chemistry Relevant

Professor Irving Epstein was recently interviewed about teaching introductory chemistry by the HHMI Bulletin in a story titled Better Living Through Chemistry (Class):

I remember the first time I went to my doctor and mentioned that I teach college chemistry. He cringed a little and said, “Oh, that almost kept me out of medical school.” Like my doctor, many students take their two years of required chemistry, breathe a sigh of relief, and then go on with their lives and don’t look back.

Students today also have many distractions to draw them off course—Facebook, Twitter, blogs. I suspect they tend to have less time to devote to their studies in high school, and when they get to college they don’t know how hard they’re going to have to work.

We need to reach out more to these students. We can’t expect them all to love the beauty of the subject for its own sake. We can, however, lure them in by showing them that chemistry is relevant to the things they’re really interested in—like life sciences, medicine, or environmental issues. Once we’ve gotten their attention and they recognize that it’s useful to understand how chemistry works, we can also convince them that it’s fun and interesting—maybe even worth tweeting about […]

You can read more at the HHMI Bulletin.

2010-2011 Outstanding Teaching Fellows in Chemistry

Chemistry graduate students Mark Bezpalko, Xiachuan Cai and Fan Zhao will
be awarded Outstanding Teaching Fellow Awards this week for their excellent
work in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and advanced chemistry lab
sections, respectively. Their efforts were appreciated in many dimensions:

Mark was very effective, extremely reliable, and always well prepared and
patient with his students. During the lab he was very attentive, making sure
that his students were on the right track and showing a genuine interest in their
progress and development. He consistently did an excellent job evaluating
student work and providing advice and guidance to help them improve.

Xiaochuan had the highest numerical ratings of the graduate TFs in organic
chemistry and garnered such positive comments such as “Being very easy going
and always being ready to help a student in need” and “Very approachable and
knew the material to be covered”. Moreover, he was able to accomplish this while
still challenging his students and grading at the appropriate level.

Fan undertook the challenge to be the TF of a completely new lab course
focused on a frontier of chemistry—materials chemistry. He not only diligently
prepared each experiment, but also helped students with discussions of
background information and potential applications of the products targeted in
each experiment. He communicated well with the students, and the students
liked him very much.

Strom receives 2011 Verna Regan Award

Michael Strom, a year 5 PhD student, is the recipient of the 2011 Verna Regan Award for the Outstanding Teaching Fellow in Psychology.

The award is given annually to the PhD student who was unusually helpful to professors in carrying out his or her duties as a teaching fellow, who has demonstrated exceptional abilities to communicate information and to teach undergraduate students, and who showed a high level of responsiveness in addressing the needs of those students.

Mike, who was selected from a field of other qualified and worthy candidates, will be among twenty-two outstanding teaching fellows to be honored at a reception to be held by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences on Friday, May 6th, where he will be presented with a certificate and honorarium.

Graduate Student Andreas Rauch awarded Outstanding Teaching Fellow in Physics

Graduate student Andreas Rauch has been awarded the Outstanding Teaching Fellow award in Physics based on his overall teaching excellence, student and course instructor evaluations, and letters from faculty.  According to Professor John Wardle, Chair of the Physics Department, “Andreas’ several years of teaching math in German schools has helped make him one of the best and most experienced Teaching Fellows I have known. This award is very well deserved.”  Andreas has been a teaching fellow in Physics 29a, Electronics Laboratory with Professor Larry Kirsch; Physics 25b, Astrophysics with Professor John Wardle; Physics 19b, Physics Laboratory II with Professor Zvonimir Dogic; and Physics 31a, Quantum Theory I with Professor Matthew Headrick.

Four other teaching fellows in the sciences will also be recognized at this year’s TF Award reception on May 6:

Mark Bezpalko (Chemistry)
Ryan Broderick (Mathematics)
Xiaochuan Cai (Chemistry)
Fan Zhao (Chemistry)

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