Carnegie Mellon University
June 01, 2009

PhD Candidate Mario Castagnaro wins Teaching Award

By John P. Lehoczky, Dean of H&SS

Mario Castagnaro, a current PhD student in Literary and Cultural studies, has been selected as one of the 2009 co-winners of the H&SS Graduate Student Teaching Award.

A 1996 graduate of Bard College, with a B.A. in Languages and Literature, as well an M.A. in Literary and Cultural theory from Carnegie Mellon (1998), Mario Castagnaro is expected to receive his PhD. in Literary and Cultural studies from Carnegie Mellon in May of 2009.   His dissertation topic is Embellishment,  Fabrication, and Scandal: Hoaxing and the American Press. 
Teaching, course design, professional development, and mentoring other graduate students tasked to teach freshman writing have been hallmarks of Mario’s work in and out of the classroom in his time here at Carnegie Mellon, along with his development as a first-rate scholar.  He has proven herself to be a dedicated, innovative, and very effective teacher whose pedagogy is informed by both his scholarship and research and a strong understanding of how to build and deliver a well-structured course. He consistently challenges students intellectually while providing the kind of careful sequencing and scaffolding of assignments that allow students to flourish and to move quickly toward independence in their own work. He also clearly inspires them to want to progress to more challenging undertakings.
Mario has been a particularly valuable resource in assisting in the delivery and development of the freshman writing requirement, 76-101, Interpretation and Argument, for which  he has served as an instructor and (for two years) as Acting Director of this key university program.  Faculty speaking on his behalf use terms and express sentiments that speak of Mario as a valued colleague, while testimonials from his students reflect the deep and lasting impact that he has had on them as both teacher and mentor.  He shall leave a void in the department’s teaching enterprise when he receives his Ph.D. degree and graduates to embark on what we expect will be a very successful academic career.