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Outstanding teaching assistants receive honors

Pictured, from left, are the 2014-15 outstanding teaching assistant honorees Jacob Kautzky, Curtis Payne, Sam Stoneburner, and Harrison Frisk.

This year’s outstanding teaching assistant honorees are Harrison Frisk (Chem 4511W Advance Physical Chemistry Lab; Jacob Kautzky Robert C. Brasted Outstanding Undergraduate TA Award; Curtis Payne (Robert L. Ferm Outstanding Graduate TA Award for organic chemistry); and Sam Stoneburner (Robert L. Ferm Outstanding Graduate TA Award for general chemistry).

Some of Harrison's CHEM 4511W students wrote: “While in lab, he was very patient with students . . . I found him to be nothing short of knowledgeable, personable, and unfailingly reliable. Outside of lab, he answered his emails very quickly, was always helpful during office hour.” “He continually projected a warm and open atmosphere that more than a handful of classmates admired and looked forward to on a weekly basis.” “Harrison was willing to go above and beyond in answering my questions that came up during these labs. When I had a question about the fluorescence spectrum of I2, he looked into it on his own time and had a conversation with me about it weeks after the lab was over.”

Some of Jacob’s organic chemistry students wrote: “Jacob is always extremely enthusiastic about organic chemistry and makes the long, late hours in lab way more fun and pleasant than it could be. At the beginning of every class, he has us briefly discuss the experiment so we all know exactly what we are doing and the theory behind everything before we do it so we can be more successful and efficient.” “He constantly circulates the lab, asking everyone how the experiment is going, asking us questions to prompt us to think more deeply about what we're doing, and always helps when we are unsure or stuck. He tries to nudge us to come to our own conclusions and develop our critical thinking skills in lab while also making sure we are all safe and successful.” “He grades our worksheets and lab reports very diligently, always leaving comments so we know exactly why we lost points and how we can do better next time. Jacob is all-around a great role model as a student and as a teacher.”

His students described Curtis as “an awesome TA. He showed up to lab every week enthusiastic for the experiment and prepared to help students in every way possible. He was very approachable and answered every question in a way which extended understanding of the concepts and techniques . . .” “He makes expectations and outlines very clear everyday in class, and helps us when we need it, although he never gives a direct answer, but instead tries to lead us to it on our own.” “He cares for the safety and success of every student in lab and he pays attention to what is going on around the lab. For example, if people take off their goggles, he notices quickly and tells them to put them on right away.” “I like to ask a lot of questions just to make sure I do everything right, and Curtis is always patient with me. If I need him to explain something more than once, he will do it.” Many of his students expressed that Curtis was the best TA they ever had.

Sam’s general chemistry students wrote: “Sam made class exciting, relevant, and manageable. He never hesitated to help, within the bounds of his role as TA, or guide us toward effective procedures and measures. He was engaged in class, prepared at all times, and responsive to questions.” “He is patient with all problems that arise during lab, science and otherwise, and ensures that we have just enough knowledge to figure out the labs ourselves, including knowledge of materials and knowledge of basic lab skills. In addition to the lab material, Sam also brought to our attention the other possible underlying concepts that have an effect on our labs, and encouraged us to do in-depth research about our results."