Editor's Note: This story by Camryn Burke first appeared on the Center for Teaching and Learning website on May 10, 2019.
A chance to interact with undergraduate students — that’s why Khaled Al Kurdi decided to become a teaching assistant (TA).
“When you’re working on a Ph.D., you don’t typically get to connect with undergraduate students, because you’re always doing research,” said Al Kurdi, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry. “I became a TA because I wanted to interact with students and challenge myself to be a better teacher.”
Al Kurdi took home both a Thank A Teacher award and the Graduate TA of the Year award for Chemistry and Biochemistry at the 2019 TA and Future Faculty Awards Day, which was held in April.
The annual event is sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning, and celebrates students and postdoctoral scholars who have contributed to the learning environment at Georgia Tech.
This year, 51 students received school-level TA Awards, and 91 students received Thank A Teacher awards. Also, 34 Tech to Teaching participants and 48 Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) members received teaching certificates.
“It was exciting to win these awards, because it shows my work is paying off and that my students care enough to take the time to express that they appreciate my teaching,” Al Kurdi added.
During the event, the following individuals also received institutewide TA of the Year awards, which include $500 prizes sponsored by the Georgia Tech alumni classes of 1957 and 1972:
Undergraduate TA of the Year
- Adrianna Brown, Computer Science
- Martin Fernandez, Mathematics
- Talha Khawaja, Physics
Graduate TA of the Year
- Jessica Fisch, City and Regional Planning
- Rafael Marin, Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Tuo Zhao, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Graduate Student Instructor of the Year
- Evan Mallen, City and Regional Planning
- Pedro Jose Arias Monje, Materials Science and Engineering
- Sophie Kay, Psychology