Lauren Saunders, graduate student with assistant professor of physics Laura Newburgh and a member of Yale’s Wright Lab; and Sohan Vartak, graduate student with Frederick Phineas Rose Professor of Physics Yoram Alhassid; are winners of the Yale Physics Department’s Leigh Page Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching.
The award seeks to acknowledge and celebrate excellence in graduate student teaching, distinct among the already high standard of teaching that graduate students in the physics department consistently achieve. This award will support the Yale Physics graduate program learning goal that “students will become educators and communicators with the ability to promote an understanding and appreciation of physics across the university and in society, and help solidify in our community that effective and informed teaching is one of our core values.”
The award communication stated, “Lauren and Sohan both present a long list of experiences in science education and influence on teaching peers. Their experience includes undergraduate and graduate physics education, as well as the design and implementation of programs aimed at multiple levels of education and outreach. Both Lauren and Sohan continually honed their practice of inclusive teaching through their work at the Poorvu Center. Collectively, the impact Lauren and Sohan have had on the department and local community is extensive: They have both developed and taught the summer “Fundamentals of Physics” bootcamp and multiple outreach programs. They have inspired many students in undergraduate and graduate courses, through difficult course work and situations. They have had a profound impact on how science is taught by graduate students at Yale by designing and running teaching workshops for new teachers both in our department and across campus. Lastly, they have both utilized their pedagogical expertise in committee work, which has brought fundamental changes to the graduate curriculum and the graduate learning community in our department.”