Princeton engineering student organizations honored faculty members and graduate teaching assistants last week at the annual School of Engineering and Applied Science Excellence in Teaching Awards ceremony.
For over three decades, the recipients have been chosen jointly by the graduate and undergraduate engineering councils. At this year’s ceremony on Feb. 22, Dean Emily A. Carter said the honor is prized by Princeton’s teachers because it is bestowed by their students.
“This is really something very special about the school of engineering,” said Carter, the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment. “Like many things at Princeton, it comes from the grass roots.”
For the first time this year, nominations were categorized into three groups—lower level, upper level, and associated courses—to allow instructors with fewer students to have similar odds as those with outsized student numbers.
Graduate council president Shuwen Yue, a graduate student in chemical and biological engineering, and undergraduate council president Meghan Slattery worked together with Professor of Computer Science Margaret Martonosi, who directs the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, in developing the system.
Richard Register, who was honored this year for his class Solid-State Properties of Polymers, said he has attended the ceremonies for most of his 28 years at Princeton and has always been motivated by the efforts of his colleagues.
“I am inspired by the testimonials of students and I think ‘wow, that is impressive, I have got to try harder,’” said Register, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. “This program really does do its part to elevate the quality of teaching at Princeton and you should be thanked for that.”
During a luncheon at the Friend Center, recipients were introduced by student representatives from their respective classes. Students called teachers “a light in the dark,” thanked them for “breaking things down into simple elements,” and for “treating every student with respect.” Others spoke of teachers who “managed to fill the classroom with energy and life and excitement,” those who saw “students for their potential and not just for their performance,” and who “made Princeton an incredible experience.”
“Great teachers extend their efforts beyond classrooms,” said Amanuella Mengiste ’18, a chemical and biological engineering major who introduced the award to Chet Markwalter, the teaching assistant for the chemical engineering laboratory CBE 346.
Eight graduate teaching assistants and eight faculty members were honored this year, including Howard A. Stone, the Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor, who received a lifetime achievement award.
The recipients are:
Professor Andrej Kosmrlj (MAE 545) Lessons from Biology for Engineering Tiny Devices
Professor Richard Register (CBE 544) Solid-State Properties of Polymers
Professor Kaushik Sengupta (ELE 304) Electronic Circuits: Devices to ICs
Professor Matt Weinberg (COS 445) Economics and Computing
Michail Alifierakis (CBE 246) Thermodynamics
Kathleen Emerson (COS 226) Algorithms and Data Structures
Chet Markwalter (CBE 346) Chemical Engineering Laboratory
Renato Pagliara Vasquez (MAE 434) Modern Control
Dr. Hansheng Diao (MAT 203) Advanced Vector Calculus
Professor Claire Gmachl (EGR 151) Foundations of Engineering: Mechanics, Energy, and Waves
Dr. C. Morris Smith (CBE 442) Design, Synthesis, and Optimization of Chemical Processes
Professor Howard Stone (MAE 305) Mathematics in Engineering
Han Hao (ORF 435) Financial Risk Management
Saeed Khan (ELE 453) Optical Electronics
Katelyn Randazzo (CBE 250) Separations in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
Steven Tignor (CHM 207) Advanced General Chemistry: Materials Chemistry
Photo at top: Amanuella Mengiste '18 and Nuss Visatemongkolchai ’18 announce the award given to graduate teaching assistant Chet Markwalter