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!