The Graduate School has presented seven graduate students, including two engineering students, with its annual Teaching Awards in recognition of their outstanding abilities as teachers.

This year’s engineering awardees are Sassan Hajirezaie from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Alex Novoselov from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The other awardees are Berta del Río Alcalá from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Daniel Healey from the Department of Art and Archaeology, Dylan Morris from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Joy Shim from the Department of Philosophy, and Maximilian Vogler from the Department of Economics.

Winners were selected by a committee chaired by Cole Crittenden, deputy dean of the Graduate School, and comprising the academic affairs deans and staff from the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. The nominations were made by academic departments and programs. Each winner receives $1,000.

Here’s a little about the two engineering winners:

Sassan Hajirezaie 

Sassan Hajirezaie

Sassan Hajirezaie

Sassan Hajirezaie, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering, is a Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars fellow. He received a First Year Fellowship in the Natural Sciences and Engineering. Hajirezaie’s recent honors include the Mary and Randall Hack ’69 Graduate Award for Water and the Environment from the Princeton Environmental Institute.

Maria Moreyra Garlock, professor of civil and environmental engineering and co-director of the Program in Architecture and Engineering, who nominated Hajirezaie, described him as “dependable and an invaluable support for me.”

Garlock said Hajirezaie ran two labs, in addition to training four other assistant instructors.  

“In my three years at Princeton, I’ve never come across a teaching assistant as kind and accommodating as Sassan, who changed his schedule around so often for his students in order to make sure we got the help we needed to feel confident and secure about the material,” one of Hajirezaie’s students explained.

Another student noted that Hajirezaie is an “excellent teacher who ably instructs and inspires a deeper love of the course material in his students,” and is an inspiration to continuing study in the department.

Alex Novoselov

Alex Novoselov

Alex Novoselov

Alex Novoselov is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE). He has served as a McGraw Center Graduate Teaching Fellow and as secretary of the Graduate Student Government.

Last year, he won first place for his presentation on cool flames during the MAE Research Day. Novoselov’s project, “Turbulent Nonpremixed Cool Flames: Experiments, Simulations, and Models,” represented the year’s best work from the “Propulsion and Energy Science” discipline. In 2018, he took home the department’s Crocco Award for Teaching Excellence.

According to his adviser, Michael Mueller, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Novoselov “performed well above expectations” in all of his responsibilities as an assistant instructor.

“Alex’s demeanor is such that he tears down all barriers to learning, encouraging students to ask questions and explore the course topics for themselves,” Mueller said. “This is an invaluable intrinsic skill that combines careful explanation of complex ideas, endless patience, masterful communication, generosity of his time and dedicated preparation.”

“On top of being accessible, well prepared and helpful, Alex was happy to help. He never made us feel like we were burdening him with our questions and misunderstandings. He was passionate about the material and excited to teach it to us,” a student said.

For more information about the other awardees, see this story.





  • Maria Garlock

  • Michael Mueller