Awards for outstanding graduate student instructors and instructional aides of 2019

2019 grad awards
Professors Louise Willingale, Dennis Sylvester, and Kamal Sarabandi stand with the 2019 GSI/IA Award winners and honorees.

To honor the work and integral help of the top Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) and Instructional Aides (IAs) in Electrical and Computer Engineering, the division held a special awards ceremony on Friday, May 17, 2019.

The award winners for the 2018-19 academic year were:

  • Paul Domanico - Outstanding GSI for the academic year
  • Milad Zolfagharloo Koohi - Outstanding GSI for Fall 2018
  • Brian Raeker - Outstanding GSI for Winter 2019
  • Rachel Menge - Outstanding IA for Winter 2019

Honorable mentions included:

  • Navid Barani Lonbani - Towner Prize for Outstanding GSI
  • Nooshin Mohammadi Estrakhri - Towner Prize for Outstanding GSI
  • Isabelle Salley - Outstanding GSI for the academic year
  • Andrew Turek - Outstanding GSI for Fall 2018
  • Menglou Rao - Outstanding GSI for Winter 2019

Dennis Sylvester, the Senior Associate Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering, presided over the ceremony attended by awardees, faculty, staff, and guests of the students. Sylvester read out comments that students had left for each honoree and celebrated the accompishments of each individual, including the awardees who were unable to attend the ceremony.

Kamal Sarabandi, the Rufus S. Teesdale Professor of Engineering, Director of the Radiation Laboratory, and Professor of ECE, as well as James Freudenberg, the Program Director of Automotive Engineering and Professor of ECE, and Professor Louise Willingale all spoke at the ceremony about their honored students. They emphasized their students' technical ability, as well as their interpersonal skills and ability to connect with students and manage interpersonal conflicts among team members. Each student was then presented with their award.

The awards are based on anonymous student evaluations. These evaluations reveal and demonstrate the student instructors' dedication to their role. Patience was a key theme in the student evaluations, and something that GSIs and IAs must have for the sometimes challenging concepts taught in their courses. Occasionally, students even favored the student teachers over the professor.

Highlights of student evaluations:

He was always willing to help, had a good sense of humor, and was kind and patient.

I hope every GSI can be as good as her.

Always willing to spend extra time to help with understanding.

She was one of the best lab instructors I've had at U of M.

He made labs doable and fun.

He was patient, helpful, and wanted students to suceed.

We again congratulate and thank all the GSIs and IAs for their essential work in educating students and creating a welcoming and scholarly atmosphere.

Posted: May 22, 2019