Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Prize awarded to Alexander Galluppi


The 2019-2020 Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Prize for the best performance by a BSD graduate student who is TAing in fulfillment of the Divisional Teaching Requirement was awarded to Alexander Galluppi. In addition, Divisional Teaching Assistant Awards went to Jennifer Blanc, Matthew Jotte, JD Laurence-Chasen, and Meike Lobb-Rabb. 

Zander Galluppi is a fourth-year student in the program in Immunology. He receives the prize in recognition of his teaching assistantship in BIOS 26403, Quantitative Immunobiology, in Spring 2020. The course director for the course, Nicholas Chevrier, noted that he did a spectacular job despite difficult external circumstances. He is cited because of the very strong support from the Quantitative Immunobiology class, who commended him for going above and beyond to help students, especially given the difficult transition to online learning. Further, he was noted for his non-judgmental and supportive attitude toward students, his willingness to extend office hours to help students, his ability to ease the anxiety of learning difficult material, his thorough explanations of material and coding so that the concepts behind the coding were understood, and his balance of caring about both the students’ acquisition of knowledge and completion of assignments, but also who they were as persons as well as their well-being during an extraordinary quarter. As one student noted, “people like Zander are crucial to maintaining a successful, fruitful, and healthy academic environment.” 

The Divisional Teaching Assistantship Award

Jennifer Blanc is a third-year student in the program on Human Genetics. She shares the Divisional Teaching Assistantship Award for her teaching assistantship in HGEN 46900, Human Variation and Disease. Her students cited her for ability to explain lecture material and concepts, her excellent hands-on tutorials and introductions to computational resources, and detailed comments on assignments, as well as her knowledge, preparation, patience, and responsiveness.

Matthew Jotte is a student in the Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program: Cancer Biology in the second year of his graduate training. He shares the Divisional Teaching Assistantship Award for his teaching assistantship in MGCB 31400, Genetic Analysis of Model Organisms. He was cited for genuinely caring that his students enjoyed the material as well as learning it, for the extra time he spent answering questions and helping with problem sets, for his engaging discussion section, as well as extremely useful advice on how to approach genetics questions. 

J.D. Laurence-Chasen is a fourth-year student in Integrative Biology. He shares the Divisional Teaching Assistantship Award for his peer educator role in The Human Body. Among the many comments, he was notably cited for the way his own interest in the subject and his encouragement fostered an interest in anatomy in the students, his kindness and patience, and for helping the students cultivate a group culture at the dissection table. One student commented that he seemed to have a sixth sense when students were struggling and needed help; he was willing to stay late to make sure individual students did not miss significant structures and relationships.

Meike Lobb-Rabb is a fourth-year student in Cell and Molecular Biology. She shares the Divisional Teaching Assistantship Award for two teaching assistantships in 2019-20: in Winter 2020, MGCB 31200, Molecular Biology 1, and in Spring 2020, BIOS 20186, Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology. 
She was cited for her ability to interact in a professional yet friendly way with students and faculty, for her dedication to her students’ learning, her ability to explain concepts clearly, her knowledge of the material, and providing strategies for understanding the material/experiments/techniques that would be tested. She was noted for her ability to maintain student morale in high stress times, and was able to make the transition to online labs tangible and understandable for her students. 
The BSD teaching prize was established in 1996 by the faculty Committee on Teaching Assistants in appreciation and recognition of the enthusiasm and effort that graduate students put into their early teaching experiences. Award of the prize is based on nominations by the students in the course taught by the TA. This year, well over 100 teaching assistants were nominated by their students for the Prize, with over 400 total votes: a tribute to the dedication of our graduate students as they take on the role of teaching assistant, and illustrating the value placed on teaching in the BSD. Congratulations to all winners!