Our Youngest Receives the “TA of the Year” Award

Our Youngest Receives the “TA of the Year” Award

TA of the year award



Our youngest is in her fourth year out of her five year PhD program in High Energy Physics at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. As part of the program, she is a teaching assistant (TA), and teaches Physics I.

We are very pleased to report that she has been awarded “TA of the Year,” and was honored at a fancy luncheon last week. Apparently, several of her students nominated her for the award, which makes sense, since she received many written thank you notes from students while she was at home over Christmas. (I include a photo of one of those notes below; we were amazed that she would receive so much gratitude from her students– I never wrote a thank you letter to any teacher of mine.)

At the luncheon, when they introduced her award, they remarked that they had never before had a TA of the Year that taught 8am classes.  For her students to really be engaged and enthusiastic in such a topic at such a time struck them as especially remarkable!

She received a bound certificate, an engraved glass apple paper weight, a letter from the dean to prospective employers for her future professorial job search, which quotes in detail her student recommender’s praise, as well as a significant cash award, which she is going to spend on our vacation to Switzerland this summer.

She really likes physics, and delights in teaching it.  If a student is confused, she can think of many other ways to explain any concept, until at last they understand it. She relishes this creative aspect of teaching, which is only possible because of the depth of her own understanding. Many of her students commented that they were surprised to do so well in her class, and her classes do score higher than the other sections taking the same tests over the same material.

We are proud of her hard work and of the way she has comported herself. We are also delighted her excellence has been so tangibly recognized!




I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Jane Cheema 1 year ago

    How happy I am that your daughter has received such a marvelous recognition for her work as a TA. Teachers are my heroes. They love their students and the subjects that they teach. I’m so glad that your daughter was honored for the hero that she is.

  2. janell fiarman 1 year ago

    Wow! Ultimate satisfaction when your children are recognized. I think we (Polly Castor blog readers) all feel a glow of pleasure.

  3. Sherri 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing the love.

  4. John+gregory 1 year ago

    Wow. What a wonderful tribute. From who did she get these qualities of “caring”?

    You all are blessed.

  5. Dilys 1 year ago

    That’s wonderful news, Polly! Congratulations to her. And bless those that took the trouble to express gratitude! what a beautiful example to us all to give gratitude whenever we can!

    Enjoy the trip to Switzerland and may your daughter go from strength to strength. X

  6. Rosalind Forber 1 year ago

    So grateful for the impact she has on the world!

  7. Laura Beckering 1 year ago

    Congratulations to your daughter for making an 8 am physics class meaningful and worthwhile to attend. Kudos to those students that recognized and wrote recommendations to acknowledge her teaching. Brilliant and hopeful on so many levels.

  8. Joyce Alluan Ades 1 year ago

    Congratulations ! So much to be proud of! Wishing your daughter continued success on her worthy journey.

  9. Joseph D Herring 1 year ago

    What a terrific achievement! Congratulations to Laura. I remember President Heible from his Dartmouth days.

  10. Bob Altman 1 year ago

    So wonderful Polly, she makes it easy to gloat w pride!

  11. Brian G 1 year ago

    How wonderful! May she continue to break the barriers, and teach others how to do likewise!

  12. Sandi 1 year ago

    Marvelous! Congrats to Laura (and her proud parents)! Given Laura’s surname, should we be surprised at the 8am bit?

  13. Susan 1 year ago

    Really wonderful!!


  1. […] Our younger daughter receiving the TA of the Year award (recently blogged). […]

  2. […] of others, as well as a “TA of the Year honorable mention.” Last year she got the TA of the Year Award, but this year she wasn’t eligible, since the second half of the year she taught grad […]

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