The Michigan Engineer News Center

Award-winning EECS 2016 Graduate Student Instructors & Instructional Aides recognized

To celebrate the contributions of our graduate and undergraduate instructors, the department selects the best of the best, based on student evaluations, and celebrates them at a special awards ceremony. | Short Read


Graduate student instructors (GSI’s) can be essential to a student’s success in the class.  Their job begins when the formal lecture ends, assisting in lab and discussion sections, holding office hours, and answering questions online. They don’t have to answer a desperate student’s questions at 3am in the morning, but students are grateful that some do that too.

To celebrate the contributions of our graduate and undergraduate instructors, the department selects the best of the best, based on student evaluations, and celebrates them at a special awards ceremony.  This event occurred Thursday, April 28, 2016, when 11 graduate students and 7 undergraduate students were recognized for their skill, passion, and care for the students they were charged to assist this past academic year.

ECE and CSE Associate Chairs Dave Neuhoff and Scott Mahlke hosted the event and introduced the awardees.

“Picking out the winners is amazingly hard,” said Prof. Dave Neuhoff. “You all did a great job.”

“You are the best of the best,” said Prof. Scott Mahlke.

The 2016 award winners, and the courses they worked with, were:

  • Maxim Aleksa – IA Award for EECS 183, fall and winter terms
  • Leah Bar-On-Simmons – IA Award for EECS 183, fall and winter terms
  • Catherine Culkin – GSI Award for EECS 461, fall and winter terms
  • Bradley Hecht – IA Award for EECS 230 and 215
  • Collin Johnson – GSI Award for EECS 467
  • Doowon Lee – GSI Award for EECS 270 and 578
  • Amlan Nayak – GSI Award for EECS 312
  • Aaron Stein – GSI Award for EECS 418
  • Yunqi Zhang – GSI Award for EECS 583
  • Chumin Zhao – GSI Award for EECS 215, fall and winter terms

Honorable mentions were:

  • Jessi Aboukasm – Honorable Mention for EECS 280
  • Yitian Chen – Honorable Mention for EECS 473
  • John Connolly – Honorable Mention for EECS 373
  • Kyle Harman – Honorable Mention for EECS 230, fall and winter terms
  • Mo Hussein – Honorable Mention for EECS 388
  • Jaeyoung Kim – Honorable Mention for EECS 427 and 627
  • Mehrdad Moradi – Honorable Mention for EECS 589
  • Nathan Sawicki – Honorable Mention for EECS 216 and 351

Sample of Student Comments

  • Great laid back attitude.
  • Deserves a medal.
  • Huge help.
  • Give him a raise.
  • Saved my life in this class.
  • Phenomenal.
  • Really kind and considerate
  • Provided an enormous deal of help.
  • My hero.
  • The course material was really difficult, but he always explains everything very clearly.
  • Really patient and awesome!
  • Such an awesome guy.
  • Is the best WOOT WOOT WOOT
  • He was incredibly chill, made it very fun.
  • Always aware of the students’ level of understanding.
  • Incredibly helpful.
  • Discussions planned out very thoroughly.
  • Very impressed with his teaching.
  • Persistent in making sure they understood.
  • EXTREMELY helpful.
  • She worked very hard to help students understand.
  • Thank you : )
  • She even stayed over lab times to help students.
  • Always willing to help.
  • Really helpful!!!
  • Very nice
  • Always willing to help people
  • Frequently added to the discussion with relevant real-world information about industry practices
  • Awesome
  • I cannot thank him enough for all his help throughout the semester.
  • We all owe him a lot of credit for helping us understand the homework!
  • Super helpful GSI!
  • He was AWESOME. Extremely responsive.
  • Very effective teacher and very passionate about the subject
  • Always there to answer questions and fix our robots.
  • She was great, knew her stuff well.
  • She was a fantastic GSI.
  • She put the material across in a way everybody could understand.
  • His classes were always hilarious and filled with great and relevant examples and videos.
  • Rreally cared about encouraging and helping the students.
  • He’s so cool! You can tell that he loves what he teaches.
  • He knows how to engage us creatively.
  • Went above and beyond for the class.
  • I really hope I can have him again for another class.
  • Excellent instructor.
  • Calmly and carefully helped during the lab.


View photos from the event here.

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.

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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