The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that nine chemistry graduate students have been named recipients of the department’s 2020 Graduate Student Teaching Award.
Previously, this award was collectively known as the Dan H. Waugh Memorial Teaching Award, which was established by the family and friends of Dan Waugh, a former chemistry graduate student at Penn State. The larger, collective title, which continues to include the Waugh Award, now recognizes the various endowments that make these awards possible. The award, which is presented annually, recognizes excellence in and dedication to teaching and undergraduate education. This year, nine students received the award.
Arani Biswas was nominated for his work as a CHEM 457 (Experimental Physical Chemistry) teaching assistant (TA). Biswas received the award because he showed a strong interest and willingness to learn all experimental techniques, had excellent rapport with the students, and, in addition to handling the normal duties of a CHEM 457 TA, he also participated in updating the course’s lab manual.
Daniel Lux, of the Elacqua group, was nominated for his work in CHEM 431W (Organic and Inorganic Preparations) and CHEM 213M (Honors Laboratory in Organic Chemistry). He received the award because he presented, developed, and implemented several activities for use in an online setting.
Ryan Myers, of the Cremer group, was nominated for his role as a CHEM 110 mentor TA and as a CHEM 110/108 TA. Myers received the award because of his excellent work as a mentor TA for CHEM 110, sharing his teaching experiences with new graduate student TAs. He has gone above and beyond the expectations of a TA, displaying maturity and sensitivity in working with his fellow graduate students.
Sarah O’Boyle was nominated for her work as a CHEM 110/108 TA. She received the award because of her great rapport with her students: she was kind, supportive, and motivating. According to her nominator, O’Boyle’s classroom management skills were very strong, and students responded to her enthusiasm, allowing her to keep them active and engaged.
Samuel Perreault was nominated for his work as a general chemistry TA in CHEM 110, 111, and 113. He received the award because of his excellent rapport with students, often staying behind after class to talk with them. According to his nominators, “he has a fun but appropriate style when working with his students.”
Jacob Piane, of the Elacqua group, was nominated for his work in CHEM 431W (Organic and Inorganic Preparations) and 213M (Honors Laboratory in Organic Chemistry). He received the award because he presented, developed, and implemented several activities for use in an online setting. He has strong organic chemistry knowledge and deep interest in organic synthesis, and he is able to use this in creative ways, proposing lessons that are enriching and purposeful for the students.
Mica Pitcher was recognized for her work with CHEM 203 (Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry II). She received the award because she is personable, approachable, helpful, and enjoys working with her students. According to her nominators, her contributions to TA meetings set her apart. She regularly brings up excellent discussion points, suggestions for course improvements, and offers advice to new TAs.
Kara Pytko, of the Hedglin lab, was nominated for her work in CHEM 213W (Laboratory in Organic Chemistry). She received the award in recognition of her patience, care, and kindness as a teacher. She is active and encouraging throughout the lab, and she gives incredible workshops on NMR, IR, and other spectroscopy to her students. She also provides excellent writing tips in her workshops. She has been willing to stay late to help students, and her supervisor says, “I've never had a TA as kind, caring, or dedicated as her.”
Jordan Wallace was nominated for his work as a CHEM 457 (Experimental Physical Chemistry) teaching assistant. According to nominators, he is being recognized because he earned the confidence and trust of the lab instructor. He learned all experimental techniques used in the course. He was able to teach several experiments simultaneously and answer students’ questions about lab practices, safety, and procedures efficiently, while keeping each group on track to finish on time.
Four graduate students also received honorable mentions for their hard work and dedication to teaching: Jinyu Fei, Christopher Haines, Wangyang Xue, and Haley Young.
Please join the Department of Chemistry in congratulating these outstanding graduate students.