Department News

2019 Departmental and Centennial Teaching Assistant Awards

stacks of diplomas tied with red ribbons for Commencement

Recipients of Departmental Teaching Assistant Awards and the university's Centennial Teaching Assistant Award were recognized at the Spring Party this year.

The Departmental Teaching Assistant Award

The Departmental Teaching Assistant Awards underscore Stanford's dedication to teaching quality, not only by our faculty but also by our many talented teaching assistants. TAs are graduate students who lead review sessions, grade homework and exams, hold office hours, and in many other ways assist both the professor teaching the course and the students taking it. Some of these individuals make extraordinary contributions, and for that reason the following students were nominated enthusiastically by the faculty, peers, and students for their notable service in this role this year:

  • Swarnadip Ghosh
  • Shuangning Li
  • Damian Pavlyshyn
  • Jaime Roquero

The Centennial Teaching Assistant Award

In alternating years students may also be nominated for the university's Centennial Teaching Assistant Award for excellence in teaching. This year, two of our Statistics students will receive that honor at an awards luncheon in June, and today we would like to celebrate their achievement.

Stephen Bates was described by faculty as being “the prototype from which we should draw all TAs.” During this year’s introductory theoretical statistics PhD sequence he has “made sure faculty are on top of what's actually been taught” and “handled lecture notes to make sure students can track everything, as there is no single textbook for our courses.”

In another course, he was “very conscientious, preparing careful solutions even to the point of doing the homework himself, and handling subtle grading issues on the midterm, which were tough [that particular] year. He [also] noticed a student with severe problems and suggested intervening. For busy faculty members, this attention to detail and ability to do what it takes without any direction is gold…. He consistently goes beyond his official duties to make classes a good experience for students, and it is a privilege to have him as a TA.”

Claire Donnat received comments from faculty as “an amazing TA, easily one of the most helpful, dedicated TAs I’ve ever had [who] clearly looked out for her students.” For one particular course she “helped develop new material, wrote [half] of the homeworks and helped substantially with crafting an interesting final exam.” In another, the instructor noted that he had “been blessed with exceptional TA support” over the past 15 years, and that she “stood out even in that group, in part because of her ability to connect with the students.” She was “available for office hours well beyond her duty, ran special revision sessions before the exams and created helpful solutions to the harder homeworks”, leading one student to comment that “she was truly interested in helping us and took our questions seriously.” And her overall performance as a TA has been highlighted by the keywords “stellar”, “terrific”, and “perfect”.

The Statistics Department is proud to recognize Stephen and Claire as 2019 recipients of the Centennial Teaching Assistant Award.