Towner Prize Winner

Alexander Rees

MECHENG 395: Mechanical Engineering Laboratory I

Being a GSI for an in-person lab amidst the pandemic gave Alexander challenges to overcome, most notably the matter of balancing his students’ needs. Some preferred working remotely, while others found in-person participation to be more beneficial for their learning. He addressed the issue by reserving a large room for the students who wanted to attend in-person and setting up office hours through a Zoom meeting, satisfying the students who didn’t want to come in-person. Alexander was especially excellent at providing students with the confidence to do tasks with their own methods and their own rationales for the solution. He wanted his students to approach a problem in their own creative ways without the fear of losing points. This made the lab and office hours more engaging for his students. Alexander used a lot of his own time to develop high quality materials and resources that would stay relevant beyond his time at the university. He used technology to his advantage in order to create an intuitive system based on a shared Google Drive folder which included templates, tutorials, and helpful resources, like how to set up a Slack workspace for an instructor, their team, and students. His goal was to erase any learning curves and allow future GSIs and IAs to easily access the resources.