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For immediate release: June 5, 2001

Contact: Steven Schultz (609) 258-5729,

Graduate students receive honors for excellence in teaching

Princeton, N.J. -- The Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni has given its 2001 awards for excellence in teaching to four graduate students who have shown a particular gift for inspiring and instructing other students.

The recipients are Tyler Dickovick of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Mark Gilzenrat of the psychology department, Marah Gubar of the English department and Jessica Moss of the philosophy department.

Wilasa Vichit-Vadakan of the civil and environmental engineering department received the second annual Friends of the International Center Excellence in Teaching Award, which was created in 2000 to honor an international graduate student.

Dickovick, a second-year Ph.D. candidate, came to Princeton after spending a year with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa. He received a bachelor's of science degree in economics and a bachelor's of arts degree in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania. Dickovick was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching award not only by his department, but also by the Politics department where he precepted in two courses.

Gilzenrat is a third-year graduate student. As an undergraduate at Emory University, he earned bachelor's of science degrees with highest honors in both psychology and biology at Emory University. He received a master's of science degree in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. He has taught extensively in psychology labs and precepts, and has written instructional lab materials. One undergraduate wrote that he "makes lab -- dreaded and avoided by most of us for years -- into an activity that we find useful to our learning, and therefore enjoyable."

Gubar, a fifth-year graduate student, received her bachelor's of arts degree in English and a bachelor's of fine arts in musical theater from the University of Michigan. As the English department's head assistant in instruction, Gubar has taught a wide range of courses within the department. She also helped lead training workshops for other graduate student teaching assistants across the humanities. Professor Elaine Showalter said, "Students are energized by Marah's example, drawn into her passionate orbit, and then find themselves suddenly able to articulate more clearly and persuasively their own responses, arguments, and interpretations."

Moss came to Princeton with a bachelor's of arts degree from Yale University and has taught English as a Second Language in Czechoslovakia. (Her languages include not only Czech, but French, German and classical Greek.) She is a fourth-year graduate student. Professor John Cooper said that her work is "characteristic of a mature teacher and scholar," while Professor Gideon Rosen said that Moss "is a model &emdash; the very form &emdash; of a preceptor in philosophy."

Vichit-Vadakan, a fourth-year graduate student, was born in Bangkok, Thailand. She came to the United States to attend Cornell University where she received her bachelor's of science degree with distinction in civil engineering, and her master's of science degree in the same discipline at MIT. Vichit-Vadakan not only was an assistant in instruction for a lab course this spring, she was the coordinator for the department's senior thesis colloquium and a volunteer-mentor to undergraduates in an inter-collegiate engineering competition in which students design and build a steel bridge.