Three CBE graduate students receive Outstanding Teaching Awards

Liao Chen, Aubrey Jeffries, and Deanna Poirier

Liao Chen, Aubrey Jeffries, and Deanna Poirier have received 2021 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Awards from the Notre Dame Graduate School and the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning.

Graduate students are nominated by faculty in their department. Students receive a certificate, a letter documenting the award, and an honorarium.

Chen, a second-year graduate student, worked as a teaching assistant in the CBE-40456 Polymer Engineering course. He helped students adjust to online coursework via virtual office hours and other scheduled Zoom meetings. He also carefully and explicitly explained homework solutions to help students better understand polymers and related concepts.

“Liao embraced his duties as a teaching assistant during a difficult time for students,” said Davide Hill, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “He was one of the best teaching assistants I’ve ever had.”

Jeffries, a Clare Boothe Luce Fellow who is completing her third year as a graduate student, served as a teaching assistant for the CBE-30361 Science of Engineering Materials course. In addition to creating and assigning virtual homework, she answered student questions, managed the Sakai gradebook, and worked with faculty and other teaching assistants to create and record details of each student’s performance.

“Aubrey was one of the best teaching assistants I’ve had the opportunity to work with,” said Alexander Mukasyan, research professor. “Her dedication to helping the students understand complex materials concepts made a real difference.”

Poirier, a second-year graduate student and Arthur J. Schmitt Leadership Fellow, was a teaching assistant in two courses —CBE-40430 Industrial Chemical Processes and CBE-40448 Process Design, the senior capstone course. She successfully engaged students who were taking the courses remotely as well as those attending in person. She also helped students resolve challenges they were having, specifically with Aspen, the chemical process simulator students use to model and optimize parts for their group projects.

“Deanna was always on top of things, giving students attention as needed and assisting in many levels throughout the course,” said Troy Vogel, associate teaching professor and director of undergraduate studies.

— Nina Welding, College of Engineering