Carnegie Mellon University
May 20, 2021

Chemistry Senior Wins MCS Gilman Award

By Emily Payne

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS

Teddy Warner won the Mellon College of Science Gilman Award. The award, named in honor of former MCS Dean Fred Gilman, recognizes a student’s exemplary achievements through the college’s Core education.

The Core was first implemented in 2015 as an innovative approach to science education that fosters student growth in four dimensions — scholar, professional, citizen and person.

During Warner’s time at Carnegie Mellon University, he has undoubtedly embodied the growth and accomplishment that the Core seeks to instill in students. He is an exceptional scholar and remarkable student leader who will leave the CMU community indelibly changed for the better.

Warner will graduate this May with a B.S. in chemistry and a minor in neuroscience. His advisor, Karen Stump, recalls his singular motivation from the day she met him to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry. Over the course of his studies, he took an incredible eight graduate courses in chemistry and biology. True to his aspirations, Warner will enter MIT’s chemistry doctoral program this fall.

In the lab, Warner has pursued diverse research interests. He has worked most closely with Chemistry Professor Bruce Armitage. During his junior year, Warner tackled an independent research project, guided by Armitage, to design a DNA nanosensor to detect cancer-associated micro RNAs with high specificity and selectivity. He submitted his work for publication to the journal ACS Sensors and completed an honors thesis on the project.

“Teddy’s intellect is outstanding. He is meticulous and skilled in the lab, and he has a great attitude about science. Teddy is in the top three of the 60+ undergrads to have worked in my lab over the last 24 years,” said Armitage.

Last summer, Warner approached a new opportunity with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Stefanie Sydlik to develop a series of “at-home” experiments for teaching organic chemistry and materials science remotely.

“His work was exceptional and resulted in a co-authorship on a paper. Teddy is truly an asset to any research team,” remarked Sydlik.

Another passion of Warner’s was guiding other students to succeed. He led weekly review, group and individual sessions for difficult courses as a supplemental instructor, EXCEL leader and peer tutor and served as a teaching assistant for introductory physics and neuroscience courses.

Students describe Teddy as a patient and detail-oriented tutor. They admire his constant encouragement and reliability to help them overcome difficult concepts — noting that he was not just a tutor but a mentor as well, always ready with advice on how to reach their goals at CMU.  

He also discovered a passion for teaching others through CMU’s student college program, where students can design and instruct their own courses. Warner developed a new course offering on the Legend of Zelda video game series and led the 15-person course.  

Outside of academics, Warner has been a dedicated citizen on campus who is attuned to the needs of the student body. As a first-year student, he joined the Student Senate and has served as the chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs since 2017. He has made a positive impact on initiatives dedicated to improving grading and course drop policies, access to online resources during the pandemic and diversity in academia. He also established funding to assist students with paying for supplies and software not covered by the university.

“His contributions have genuinely enhanced the academic experience not only of current students but for many to come in the future,” concluded Stump.