Jeanne Morin-Leisk and Ken Hovis Win Departmental Awards-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Jeanne Morin-Leisk and Ken Hovis Win Departmental Awards

During the past academic year, two graduate students excelled in their service to the Department of Biological Sciences and earned awards as a result. Ken Hovis, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate working in Dr. Nathan Urban’s laboratory, was awarded the Graduate Student Teaching Award, while Jeanne Morin-Leisk, a third-year Ph.D. candidate working in Dr. Tina Lee’s laboratory, received the Graduate Student Service and Outreach Award.

Hovis served as a teaching assistant for Dr. David Hackney’s Modern Biology and Dr. Gordon Rule’s Biochemistry courses. The enthusiasm and extra fervor he utilized helped to fulfill and exceed his teaching and grading duties. A student within Hovis’ biochemistry class, Ruchi Desai, stated “He was supportive, helpful and made biochem both interesting and fun. I admire his patience and commitment to making students understand the science instead of just giving answers to homework.”

Besides his work within the classroom, Hovis has expanded his interest in teaching through the Sciences Teaching Club, where he is a founding member and the current Vice President. The club aims to enhance opportunities for graduate students interested in teaching careers. Recently, Hovis presented a poster about the club at the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) 2008 Forum, along with the club’s President, Melissa Witzberger.

Morin-Leisk also serves as a founding member of the Sciences Teaching Club and the organization’s current Treasurer. Additionally, she developed and implemented an outreach program, in which Biological Sciences graduate students tutor Schenley High School students on a weekly basis. Witzberger stated, “Without Jeanne, this program would not exist, and it is an integral part of exposing students at an early age to positive role models in the sciences.” Morin-Leisk also represented the department on the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), where she managed the department’s allotted funds and coordinated social events.

In addition to her formal committee roles, Morin-Leisk went out of her way to make the first-year graduate students feel welcomed into the department. She offered her home as a place to host a welcome orientation event as well as invited all first-year graduate students to local restaurants for lunch every week. Emily Furbee, a member of this past year’s incoming graduate class, said “I think I can speak for most of my class when I say that she has been an outstanding, intelligent, selfless and humorous friend to us newcomers.”

July 7, 2008