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Four ChemE grad students win Outstanding TA Awards

Four ChemE grad students win Outstanding TA Awards

Grad students Lauren Miller, Anthony Goodrow, Joe Zakzeski and Priya Shah are the winners of chemical engineering's Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards.

September 9, 2007

Four chemical engineering graduate students have been awarded Outstanding Teaching Assistant awards. The awards, based on nominations from students and on evaluations by the instructors, were presented at the first Fall 2007 chemical engineering colloquium, on August 29.

ChemE grad student Joe Zakzeski was given the Dow Outstanding TA Award, which features a cash prize from the Dow Chemical Company. Anthony Goodrow, Lauren Miller and Priya Shah each earned Department of Chemical Engineering Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards.

Joe Zakzeski was born and raised in Carson City, NV. He earned his B.S. in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with minors in German and Japanese.

Says Zakeski, "The best part of being a GSI is interacting with the students and watching them grow intellectually. Observing the instant that a student arrives at a solution to a difficult problem is particularly gratifying, but the bigger reward comes in seeing the gradual increase in the student's abilities."

Lauren Miller was born in Cedar Rapids, IA, and graduated from Linn-Mar high school in Marion, IA. Like Zakeski, Miller earned her B.S. in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"Being a GSI is a great opportunity to not only teach students, but to encourage and inspire them," she says.

"I grew up in Feeding Hills, MA," says Anthony Goodrow, "and graduated from Agawam High School in 2000." He earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with minors in chemistry, economics and (he adds) the Boston Red Sox.

"I find being a GSI a very fulfilling and rewarding experience," Goodrow says. "Working with students that are motivated challenges me and helps keep me on my toes. It's such an awesome feeling to be able to help others, while also learning something about yourself."

Priya Shah was born and raised in Toledo, OH. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering at MIT, with a minor in biomedical engineering. Says Shah, "I enjoy teaching because it forces me to think about chemical engineering in different ways, based on questions that students ask. I've re-learned what I'd forgotten from my undergraduate days—it's the basics you have to fall back on during those desperate moments when you don't know what else to do. The basics will get you far."

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