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Chemistry faculty honored with top mentoring, teaching awards

Naomi Halas, Jason Hafner, and Julianne Yost were recognized at the 2018 University Awards hosted on April 24 by the Center for Teaching Excellence. Halas was awarded the Presidential Award for Mentoring. Yost and Hafner received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, along with seven faculty peers. The award honors top instructors and is determined by alumni votes.

Halas’ award recognizes her excellence in mentoring graduate and undergraduate students. She is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is professor of chemistry, bioengineering, physics and astronomy, and materials science.

Hafner GRB 3

Hafner with President Leebron

Photo by Jeff Fitlow

Hafner, professor of physics and astronomy and of chemistry, similarly encourages his Electricity and Magnetism students to explore the topic via the familiar. He says, “The ideas appear hopelessly abstract at first. Students must let go their conscious self and learn to visualize and think mathematically. Throughout the semester we find that these concepts describe the basis for our technological society.”  

Yost GRB

Yost with President Leebron

Photo by Jeff Fitlow

Yost is the Wiess Instructor of Chemistry, whose favorite class to teach is Organic Chemistry. “But teaching organic is more than just teaching students to memorize the details of every reaction. I find that approach uninspiring. Instead, I firmly believe it’s a course that when taught and learned correctly is not about memorization but is more about problem-solving and applying the basic principles that you know.”

A full list of winners was announced on Rice News on April 23: http://news.rice.edu/2018/04/23/9-recognized-with-award-for-superior-teaching-3/ and http://news.rice.edu/2018/04/23/faculty-staff-honored-for-excellence-in-teaching-mentoring-service-6/