Office of Communications
22 Chambers St.
Princeton, New Jersey 08542
Telephone 609-258-3601; Fax 609-258-1301

For immediate release: June 3, 2003
Contact: Jennifer Greenstein Altmann, (609) 258-2982, jlg@princeton.edu

Graduate students honored for excellence in teaching

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Princeton Graduate School has given awards for excellence in teaching to five graduate students who have been particularly successful and devoted in instructing undergraduates.

The annual Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni Teaching Awards are sponsored by the graduate alumni and selected by the Graduate School administration. The 2003 recipients are James Buchholz of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department, Michael Lindsay of the sociology department, Kimberly Oldenburg of the English department and Leyla Valenick of the molecular biology department. Hafize Erkan of the operations research and financial engineering department received the 2003 Friends of the International Center Excellence in Teaching Award, which honors an international graduate student.

Buchholz came to Princeton in 2000 after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta. Last fall, when he precepted for a course in thermodynamics, he could be found in the laboratory on weekends helping his students. Said one of his professors, "A teaching assistant like James only comes along once in a great while."

Lindsay has a bachelor's degree in English from Baylor University and a master's degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. As preceptor in a course on leadership, Lindsay exhibited a genuine interest in and deep commitment to his students' learning. He is the author of a book titled "Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs."

Oldenburg, who graduated from Reed College with a bachelor's degree in English, has drawn out even the most reticent of students when directing discussions of British literature and 19th-century fiction. The help she has provided to undergraduates was summed up by one student who said, "I walked in very confused and muddled, and am now leaving feeling very confident in my ability to convey exactly what I wanted to say in my paper."

Valenick was a double major in biology and English at Boston College, and spent three years as a research assistant at a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. In that position she became proficient in RNA manipulation, DNA technology and other lab techniques, and published a number of papers and abstracts. At Princeton, where she precepted for the course "Cell and Developmental Biology," she passed on to students an infectious enthusiasm for science and research.

Erkan received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Bogazici University in Turkey. According to students in the two courses she has precepted, she was diligent, devoted, patient and competent, and her precepts were "essential for survival." One professor described Erkan as "madly in love with her teaching."

back  |  top