Yaron, Brown and Winger Honored for Teaching Excellence in MCS
David Yaron, William Brown and Aris Winger received this year's Mellon College of Science (MCS) Teaching Awards. They were recognized at an awards ceremony in May.
Yaron, professor of chemistry, received the Julius Ashkin Teaching Award for devotion and effectiveness in teaching undergraduates. Brown, professor of biological sciences, received the Richard Moore Education Award for substantial contributions to the college's educational mission. Winger, a teaching assistant in mathematical sciences, received the Hugh Young Graduate Student Teaching Award, which recognizes excellent teaching ability.
"There is no doubt that Dave Yaron views teaching as much more than a classroom activity and takes an active mentoring role in the department and college," Freeland said.
Yaron, who joined the department as an assistant professor in 1993, has displayed and achieved excellence inside and outside the classroom. In 2000, he was awarded the Henry Dreyfuss Teacher-Scholar Award.
"Beyond his excellent work in the classroom and with educational research, Dave Yaron has provided leadership in the chemistry curriculum and the college," Freeland said.
Yaron's contributions to the college include serving as the junior chemistry class advisor, leading college-wide funding to obtain resources for research and teaching, securing fellowships for computational science students' summer internships and mentoring his teaching assistants. He helped develop new tracks of coursework for undergraduate students, such as the computational chemistry track.
Yaron has been an advocate for using technology to enhance the teaching and learning process. Joel Smith, vice provost for computing services and director of the Office of Technology for Education, praised Yaron's creativity and sensitivity to students' needs in his software.
"Unlike many faculty who develop instructional software exclusively from their institutions, Yaron made the effort to seek input from experts in cognitive science and software design at Carnegie Mellon as part of his development process," Smith said.
Yaron's nomination packet also contained praise from students. "He's great at explaining things and a very fair grader. He does everything he can to help us," wrote a student in his evaluation of Yaron.
Brown joined the MCS faculty in 1973 and has served in a variety of positions, including department head for more than five years. Jones believes Brown's scientific knowledge and his pioneering spirit helped lay a strong foundation for the young department. He demonstrated his enthusiasm for the sciences through various programs and initiatives, and his commitment continues today.
Brown, who earned the Julius Ashkin Award in 1986, conceived the new Bachelor of Science and Arts degree program. He also assisted with the creation of the unified, interdisciplinary major in Biological Sciences and Psychology, and now serves as a faculty member on the executive board of the Science and Humanities Scholars program.
Brown is also active in university outreach. He has worked with area secondary school teachers and is an active supporter of the Science Education Partnership Award, a teacher training program for which he helped to raise more than $1 million in resources.
Brown helped to establish the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences and has served as an instructor in the program, which brings highly talented high school students to Carnegie Mellon's campus each year. He has judged science fairs, led discussions with high school students, served as a public school science and technology advisor, and invited students into his lab to conduct research projects.
"There seems to be no end to his imagination. His ability to assemble the people, resources and materials to make a program not only work, but grow, is phenomenal," Jones said.
Students respond well to Winger's teaching. His recitations and office hours are well attended.
Lisa Campus, a sophomore chemical engineering and engineering and public policy major, said, "Aris was more patient than I deserved.... He had the wisdom to see what I did know and linked that to the concepts I thought I would never be able to understand. Above all, he made the process comfortable."
"During my 20 years of experience in higher education, I have met few teaching assistants as devoted to students as Aris Winger," said Linda Hooper, coordinator of Academic Development. "Through his passion for teaching, he conveys his genuine passion to others, and inspires them to perform to the best of their abilities."
Winger has represented the department at Mathfest, an annual meeting designed to encourage minorities to attend graduate school in mathematics. Last summer he was an instructor in Carnegie Mellon's Summer Academy for Minority Scholars.
Kathleen A. Fischer
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