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Wednesday, Oct. 01, 2014

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Four honored for their work mentoring graduate students

Four Princeton faculty members have been named the recipients of Graduate Mentoring Awards by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning and will be honored during the Graduate School's hooding ceremony on Monday, May 30.

They are: Sanjeev Arora, professor of computer science; Edward Eigen, lecturer in architecture; Noreen Goldman, professor of demography and public affairs; and John Krommes, lecturer with the rank of professor in astrophysical sciences.

The McGraw Center, together with the Graduate School, instituted the award in 2002 to recognize Princeton faculty members whose work with graduate students is particularly outstanding. It is intended to honor faculty members who nurture the intellectual, professional and personal growth of their graduate students.

Graduate students nominate faculty members for the award and, along with faculty members, serve on the committee that selects the winners. One faculty member in each academic division (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering) is chosen. In addition to being honored at the ceremony, each receives a $1,000 award and a commemorative gift.

Arora, a faculty member at Princeton since 1994, teaches and conducts research on theoretical computer science.

"I have consistently been amazed by his ability to always be able to understand and meaningfully comment on all aspects of my research," wrote one graduate student in his nomination. "Moreover, when tackling a research problem, Sanjeev's emphasis on always checking details on the one hand, while simultaneously keeping the big intuitive picture in mind, has been one of the most important lessons I have learned as a graduate student."

Eigen, a faculty member since 2002, is an architectural historian whose work focuses on intersections of the human and natural sciences with architecture in the 19th century.

"He is able to bring his encyclopedic knowledge of history and theory to his role as a design critic in directly productive ways, and as a seminar leader draw connections across a broad range of historical and contemporary topics to complexify the current architectural discourse," wrote a graduate student in nominating him. "Perhaps best of all, his brilliance and erudition is paired with a deep personal humility that makes him both perfectly approachable and capable of providing a tremendous amount of knowledge that sparks interest and opens up avenues for investigation without pushing dogmatic conclusions."

Goldman, who joined the Princeton faculty in 1987, has taught courses and conducted research in population, demographic methods, statistics and epidemiology.

"To me," wrote a Princeton doctoral degree recipient, "she exemplifies the roles of a teacher and mentor with inspiring scholarly achievements, rigorous intellectual leadership, solid professional integrity, infectious passion for teaching, undeterring patience, encouraging openness, unreserved support for the professional growth of the young and a deep respect for diversity and humanity."

In addition to teaching in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences' Program in Plasma Physics, Krommes is a principal research physicist and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. He earned a Ph.D. from Princeton in 1975 and joined the research staff in 1977, becoming a lecturer in 1978.

"He has high expectations for students, both class members and research advisees, and he is willing to generously offer his time to ensure their understanding and success," wrote one graduate student in his nomination. "He is committed to using his role as an adviser to benefit our development as researchers and enrich our future careers. He is a patient teacher who listens before speaking and takes time to understand his students and therefore teach us better."

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