Engineering students honored outstanding educators on April 5 at the annual School of Engineering and Applied Science Excellence in Teaching Awards. Organized by the Engineering Council, the awards celebrated professors and graduate teaching assistants for mastery of academic disciplines, clarity in instruction, and dedication to their students’ growth and well-being.

“Though there are many faculty and graduate students doing amazing research and making unbelievable breakthroughs in the school of engineering, today’s honorees are special also for their work outside the laboratory,” Council President Caroline Zhao ’25 said in her introduction to the lunchtime ceremony in the Friend Center convocation room. “They have mastered the task, arguably the most difficult of all in academia, of teaching the next generation.”

The teaching awards recognized instruction in courses held during the spring semester of 2022-23 and fall semester of 2023-24. Recipients are selected by the votes of engineering undergraduate and graduate students. First granted in 1988, the engineering teaching awards are the oldest student-run teaching honors at Princeton.

Smiling audience members sit and round lunch tables
Award recipients and guests at the ceremony

Dean Andrea Goldsmith told the audience that the award is highly valued because it represents a core strength of Princeton.

“One of the things that I am most proud of, being the dean of engineering here at Princeton, is how much we care about teaching,” said Goldsmith, the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering. “In a university and a school of engineering where teaching is so important, those that are selected through this process are truly exceptional and make Princeton magical.”

During the program, class representatives introduced award recipients and described what made their teaching exemplary. Together, the presentations were a list of superlatives.

“Kevin Wayne is one of the best teachers I have ever had.”

Maria Garlock’s “passion for the architecture, design and the engineering behind bridges was so apparent in her lectures that it made all the students even more engaged in the class.”

“Michael (Soskind) was the main TA in Car Lab … The night before our final, he was there until 4 or 5 in the morning, which is above and beyond the call of duty.”

“Jessica (Jin) is far more than an incredible teacher … Her kindness and warmth are almost thermodynamically impossible.”

“Quinn (Gallagher) had already memorized all our names. It might seem like a small thing, but it was one of the many ways that Quinn showed how dedicated he was to teaching.”

Benjamin Budway “is the type of instructor that we all come to Princeton to learn from.”

“The consensus is that CBE 341 (Professor Celeste Nelson) restores people’s faith in the major.”

“Professor (Craig) Arnold’s love for materials science was truly infectious … His enthusiasm to share that with all of us was unmistakable.”

Students also said that some of the most valuable lessons come outside the lecture hall. Willem Alleyne ’26 said he and several classmates struggled in the challenging linear algebra course MAT 202. John Sheridan was always eager to dedicate extra time to ensure students understood the topic and to help prepare them for further material.

“In my short time at Princeton, I learned a couple key ways to succeed in academics and in life. In my experience, two of the most important keys to success are preparation and kindness,” said Alleyne. “I learned this indirectly, and maybe directly, from Professor John Sheridan.”

The recipients, in order presented, are:

Line of recipients holding award plaques
Award recipients with Dean Andrea Goldsmith

Spring 2022-23

Dr. Christopher Moretti (COS 217)

Dr. Kevin Wayne (COS 226)

Dr. John Sheridan (MAT 202)

Professor Maria Garlock (CEE 262B)

Jessica Jin (CBE 246)

Drew Carson (CBE 441)

Dean Ahdab (CEE 365)

Katie VanderKam (MAE 427)

Line of recipients holding award plaques
Award recipients with Dean Andrea Goldsmith

Fall 2023-24

Professor Celeste Nelson (CBE 341)

Professor Amir Ali Ahmadi (ORF 363)

Professor Craig Arnold (MAE 324)

Professor David August (COS 375)

Teagan Mathur (MAE 223)

Benjamin Budway (ORF 309)

Camila Llerena-Olivera (CEE 471)

Michael Soskind (ECE 302)

Quinn Gallagher (CBE 503)


  • Christopher Moretti

  • Kevin Wayne portrait

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  • Maria Garlock

  • Celeste Nelson

  • Amir Ali Ahmadi

  • Craig Arnold

  • David August

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