The Michigan Engineer News Center

2014 CoE Towner Prize for Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors

These students received the award for their creativity as an instructor, their thorough understanding of the content, and for their dedication to student success.| Short Read

Each year the College of Engineering awards the Towner Prize for Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) to the top graduate student instructors throughout the College of Engineering. In 2014, two of the four awards went to students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

These students received the award for their exceptional ability, creativity or innovation as an instructor, their thorough understanding of the course content, and for their remarkable dedication to student success. We thank them for their committment to excellence in teaching our students!

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Hamid-Reza Ossareh

Hamid-Reza recently received his PhD in Electrical Engineering:Systems in the area of powertrain controls, and joined Ford Motor Company as a research engineer. He was a GSI for EECS 560: Linear Systems Theory.

Hamid’s main goal was to expand students’ knowledge of classroom theory to practical applications. To achieve this, he developed weekly study guides that summarized material and provided unique real-world applications and examples. One student said, “The discussion outlines created by Hamid were an excellent balance between providing enough information for students to comfortably listen and comprehend the material while still requiring active participation through writing.” Given the wide range of disciplinary backgrounds in this 100+ student course, Hamid adapted his teaching in a manner that supported all of his students’ learning.


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Bryce Wiedenbeck

Bryce is a graduate student in the Computer Science and Engineering program. He was a GSI for ENGR 151: Accelerated Introduction to Computers and Programming.

He created projects for each lab section and designed them to meet the diverse programming backgrounds of his students. His labs included basic tasks to help all students master foundational knowledge, as well as optional challenge problems to engage more experienced programmers. He assigned both individual and pair programming tasks; individual projects helped students assess their own understanding, while pair programming promoted communication and let students share their knowledge and approach with peers. Bryce also created his own surveys at the middle and end of the term, and improved his teaching based on feedback from students.


hamid-reza ossareh
bryce wiedenbeck
Portrait of Catharine June


Catharine June
ECE Communications and Marketing Manager

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

(734) 936-2965

3301 EECS

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read