UAAP Recognizes Faculty and Student Contributions to Teaching, Advising and Mentoring

Leslie Bottari, Staff Associate, UAAP

Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming coordinates the selection MIT faculty for three Institute Convocation awards. We were pleased with both the number and quality of nominations, which spoke to the contributions of our Institute’s distinguished faculty. The following faculty are this year’s award recipients:

Sam Allen: Arthur Smith Award for Lifelong Contributions to Student Life and Learning

Professor Sam Allen retires in June after 30 years dedicated to teaching and advising students. He has helped hundreds of students find their place at MIT, nurturing their growth and success.  A “founding father” of the Freshman Advising Seminar program, Prof. Allen has taught Modern Blacksmithing and Physical Metallurgy every year since 1986. Nominators enthusiastically agree that he is deserving of the Arthur C. Smith Award.

Allan Adams: Everett Moore Baker Award for Excellence in Teaching

Professor Adams “gets applause each and every time he lectures.” He has developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher.  His emails of encouragement, recognition and individualized feedback spur students to excel. Nominations testify to his infectious enthusiasm and his genuine concern for students’ well-being.  Prof. Adams truly represents excellence in teaching.

Heidi Nepf: Earll Murman Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

Professor Nepf has achieved excellence in undergraduate advising.  Nominators spoke to how caring and involved Prof. Nepf is with students, never hesitating to put forth extra time for a students in need.  She is someone who stimulates intellectual achievement and leads by example, inspiring others to follow her example.  She is most deserving of the Earll Murman Award.

Additionally, the UAAP reviewed nominations for Outstanding Freshman Advisor, Associate Advisor, UROP Faculty Mentor, and UROP Graduate Student Mentor. It was an honor to select the best of the best who will be recognized at a luncheon celebration on May 20. The honorees include:

Freshman Advisor of the Year:

  • Professor Edmund Bertschinger, Department Head of Physics

Professor Bertschinger is the first in his family to attend college and a promoter of diversity at MIT.   He takes his relationship with his freshmen beyond academics by encouraging students to push and challenge themselves. 

Associate Advisor of the Year: 

  • Elizabeth Toller, McCormick RAA for Kirk Kolenbrander

Elizabeth has gone above and beyond as an academic resource for freshmen and providing great advice.  She brings an amazing combination of skills and commitment to the role of Associate Advisor.  

UROP Faculty Mentor of the Year:

  • Professor Kerri Cahoy, Aeronautics and Astronautics

Professor Cahoy’s dedication to undergraduate research is evident.  She supports the education of students at all levels, taking the time to explain concepts in ways they can understand and instilling a passion beyond the field.

UROP Graduate Student Mentor of the Year:

  • Armon Sharei, Ph.D. Student, Chemical Engineering under Professors Jensen and Langer.

Armon continuously challenges his mentees by asking them to conceive their own ideas.  He is committed to the success of his undergraduates in their research and their academic endeavors.