CONGRATULATIONS to our Spring 2021 recipients of the John S. Swenton Award for Outstanding Teaching: Chelsea Zoltowski and Joe Fernandez.
CONGRATULATIONS to our Spring 2021 recipients of the John S. Swenton Award for Outstanding Teaching: Chelsea Zoltowski and Joe Fernandez. Both of these graduate students have gone above and beyond as GTAs for CBC courses this semester and in prior semesters, demonstrating the highest level of dedication to student learning. Both winners will be receiving a $250 monetary award in addition to a certificate recognizing their achievement.
Chelsea Zoltowski was a GTA for Chemistry 1920H, the second semester of Honors General Chemistry, in Spring 2021 and she has consistently been a TA for Honors General Chemistry I and II (CHEM 1910H and 1920H) for the last 2.5 years. Chelsea goes above and beyond to help her students, holding extra office hours when midterms and finals are approaching and during semester breaks. Her nominators described her strong communication and leadership skills, particularly her talent for explaining concepts in a way that her students can easily understand. During a semester/year that was really difficult on students, Chelsea’s compassion really showed. One of her nominators writes, “Chelsea made sure to do check-ins with her students during online lab and recitations and was a great resource for the 1920H students, not only wanting them to succeed in Chemistry but at OSU and in life.” Chelsea’s nominators praised her “cheerful can-do attitude” and her “empathy toward the students in the class.”
Joe Fernandez was a GTA for two courses in Spring 2021: CHEM 2520 (undergraduate organic chemistry) and CHEM 7470 (graduate level Computational Chemistry). In previous semesters, Joe has taught many different iterations of undergraduate organic chemistry (2510, 2520. 2540, and 2550) and undergraduate level Computational Chemistry (CHEM 5440). One of Joe’s nominators writes about how engaged and interactive he has been as a teaching assistant, often contributing to course instruction through pedagogical conversations with the instructor about the material and how it is taught. While serving as a GTA for CHEM 7470, Joe has been actively involved in helping the graduate students in the class with their independent computational projects. This has been a particularly challenging task for a GTA because the projects come from all different disciplines and require Joe to dive into the scientific aspects of the projects and the current state of the art in multiple different sub-disciplines in order to effectively help his students. One of Joe’s nominators says, “Indeed, this extra contribution embodies everything about Joe….He wants to teach with the best information available and to motivate and nurture the next generation of scientists.” Another nominator praises Joe’s interactions with his student and writes that he is “consistently patient and genuinely concerned with regard to their grasp of the course material. Joe is an excellent communicator, able to relate difficult chemical principles and mechanisms clearly. These capabilities allow Joe to have an exceptional rapport with his students and to develop a positive, effective learning environment.”