The Princeton University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa will present its annual awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching to Rosina Lozano, associate professor of history and Class of 1942 University Preceptor, and Matthew Weinberg, assistant professor of computer science.
The awards will be presented at the Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony, held at 8:45 a.m. Monday, June 3, in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, immediately preceding the graduating seniors’ Class Day ceremony.
The students outline the criteria for excellence in teaching as skill in instruction, commitment to working with and building relationships with undergraduates, and the ability to spark students’ intellectual interests. Each winner is presented with a plaque.
Senior history concentrator Katherine Fleming attests to the impact that Rosina Lozano has on the students she teaches and mentors, calling her “the most exceptionally committed to pedagogy of any professor” she has encountered at Princeton. Having taken two of her classes, “Latino History” and “Comparative Race and Ethnicity,” Fleming notes that “Professor Lozano doesn’t just teach — she is remarkably open and self-reflexive on how to teach.”
A scholar of Latino history with a focus on Mexican American history, the American West, migration and immigration, and comparative studies in race and ethnicity, Lozano approaches her work with “candor, honesty, transparency and a refreshing sense of humor,” attests Fleming. Since joining the Princeton faculty in 2013, she has been regarded by students as a “professor who will challenge you but support you every step of the way,” Fleming says. “She does not want perfection; she wants real growth and commitment.”
She also exhibits an “exceptional degree of care and compassion for her students,” recognizing that their lives outside of the classroom are as significant as the time she shares with them in class. Recalling how supportive Lozano was when Fleming feared she had suffered a concussion from a bike accident, she admires that “she shows the same degree of kindness and understanding to all her students … in particular, she is known as an incredible resource for LatinX students who come to her for guidance and support. She is an unwavering supporter of students who have been marginalized in the curriculum, the University and society at large.”
Lozano earned her Ph.D. at the University of Southern California, Ed.M. from Harvard University and A.B. from Stanford University. Her next ambitious goal is to launch a summer institute for high school teachers to help them supplement and enrich the narratives they are required to use in history textbooks. In so doing, Fleming says, Lozano will be helping others to “write the kind of history she wanted students to see.”
Matt Weinberg has gained the enthusiastic appreciation of students since joining the Princeton faculty at the start of 2017. An expert in algorithmic mechanism design, algorithmic game theory and algorithms under uncertainty, he completed his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and B.A. at Cornell University. In recognition of Weinberg winning the Phi Beta Kappa teaching award, seniors Trisha Datta and Evan Wildenhain herald his dedication to leading challenging and stimulating classes, while going above and beyond to support students beyond the classroom.
Datta and Wildenhain highlight Weinberg’s skill in preparing students for the math and theory requirements in computer science. Citing Weinberg’s strength in accommodating the varied experience of students, they note that his courses “serve as a meaningful stepping stone toward deeper theory for students with more mathematical maturity.” And, when students struggle with the material, they are met with Weinberg’s “willingness to meet until late hours and for much longer than scheduled in order to get ‘un-stuck’ on a problem.”
In Datta’s and Wildenhain’s estimation, “Few other professors on campus match Matt in how thoughtfully and intentionally he works to make things better for students.” While the rollout of his “Economics and Computing” course earned Weinberg a teaching award from the engineering council, he continually tried to find ways to improve it.
That attention to quality and connection with his students shines through in Datta’s and Wildenhain’s closing tribute. They describe how Weinberg noted after teaching his “Economics and Computing” course last spring … “Just wanted to say thank you for a great semester … I don’t take for granted that future classes will be great just because past classes were great. This class was great.” In turn, the students applaud Weinberg: “We want to thank you for being an outstanding teacher. Hopefully this award shows that we don’t take that for granted either.”