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For immediate release: May 28, 2004
Media contact: Steven Schultz, (609) 258-5729, sschultz@princeton.edu

Graduate students honored for excellence in teaching

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Princeton Graduate School has given awards to five graduate students in recognition of their dedication and effectiveness in teaching.

The annual Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni Teaching Awards are sponsored by the graduate alumni and are selected by the Graduate School administration. The four 2004 winners are Sharon Bewick of the chemistry department, Kerry Bystrom of the English department, Stacy Janak of the chemical engineering department and Susan McWilliams of the politics department.

A fifth student, Pedro Silva Goldbaum of the physics department, received the Friends of the International Center Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given annually to an international graduate student.

Bewick, a third-year student, earned her undergraduate degree from Mt. Allison University in Canada. At Princeton, she served as a preceptor for two courses, "General Chemistry" and "Physical Chemistry." The professors for those praised her skill as a teaching assistant who consistently performed "above and beyond the highest expectations a teacher could have."

Bystrom, who came to Princeton four years ago, served as a preceptor not only in her home department of English, but also in the politics department. An English professor who worked with Bystrom on two courses called her "a full participant in both classes, a co-teacher and colleague rather than a teaching assistant." Bystrom also extended her talents beyond Princeton, meeting weekly with high school students in Trenton to improve their writing skills.

Janak came to Princeton three years ago from Texas A&M University where she graduated at the top of her class. Her talents as a chemical engineer earned her praise from students, who cited her excellent understanding of the material as well as her approachability and ability to coax students into developing their own solutions to problems. Professor Thanos Panagiotopoulos said, "Stacy far exceeded my expectations and made a huge difference for both myself and the students taking the course."

McWilliams, a fourth-year student, received her undergraduate degree from Amherst College as a double major in politics and Russian. She served as a preceptor for "American Political Thought" and was invited by Professor Patrick Deneen to give a guest lecture. Deenan described the students' response to both her precepts and lectures as one of "unbridled enthusiasm." She also applied her teaching skills to work with the University Writing Center, the "Scholars in Schools Program" and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning.

Goldbaum, a fourth-year student, is a native of Brazil and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Sao Paulo. This year he served as a preceptor for two courses, "Classical Mechanics" and "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics." In both courses, faculty members praised Goldbaum for his patience in helping students in weekly problem sessions that often extended into the early morning. One student wrote of his "incredible dedication and desire to help students," and another simply stated, "Problem sessions rocked!"

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