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Tau Beta Pi bestows its teaching award on Professor Gerald Fuller

Tau Beta Pi bestows its teaching award on Professor Gerald Fuller

Twelve other faculty have been added to the Teaching Honor Roll for 2019–2020 by this nationwide honor society for the engineering profession.
June 25, 2020
Stanford Engineering Quad

Honoring exceptional teaching | Photo by Nancy Rothstein

Chemical engineering Professor Gerald Fuller has received the Tau Beta Pi Teaching Award for the 2019–2020 academic year, and 12 other faculty members and instructors have been added to the Teaching Honor Roll by the Stanford chapter of this nationwide honors society for the engineering profession.

Fuller, the Fletcher Jones II Professor in the School of Engineering, learned of the award during the chemical engineering department’s virtual graduation celebration on June 11, when graduating senior Anthony Gabriel Flores, ’20, read aloud his testimonial from his family’s home in Los Angeles.

“As a first-generation college student, Gerry made me feel included and always encouraged me to pursue my dreams,” said Flores, who was encouraged by Fuller to seek admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has been accepted to begin graduate studies in chemical engineering as applied to cancer research.

For Fuller, the award carried more than one surprise because, in addition to being kept secret until the ceremony, he did not realize that he and Flores shared a common educational background until he heard the testimonial.

“Maybe my teaching antenna sensed the resonance, but had I been fully aware, I would have told him my own backstory,” said Fuller, whose parents never progressed beyond high school. “What I noticed in Anthony was his curiosity and the quality of his questions, which told me this was a student who could achieve anything.”

The 12 faculty members named to this year’s Teaching Honor Roll were announced prior to graduation, based on nominations by engineering students and selection by a panel of Tau Beta Pi officers and alumni. Outgoing president Elizabeth Christy Reichert, ’20, who earned her undergraduate degree in management science and engineering this school year, said the student-conferred Teaching Award and Honor Roll are two ways that undergraduates can show their appreciation for exceptional teaching.

“Students put a lot of thought and effort into these nominations,” Reichert said. “Despite the pandemic and everything else, students submitted so many stellar recommendations that it was really difficult to make the final selections.”

Named to the 2019-2020 Teaching Honor Roll are:

Russ Altman – Bioengineering

Steve Collins – Mechanical Engineering

Kyle Douglas – Civil and Environmental Engineering

Nicholas Ouellette – Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jian Qin – Chemical Engineering

Parth Sarin – Computer Science

Melissa Valentine – Management Science and Engineering

Ross Venook – Bioengineering

Paul Vorster – Bioengineering

Mary Wootters – Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Julie Zelenski – Computer Science

Roseanna Zia – Chemical Engineering

Honorees will each receive an official certificate and will be featured on the Tau Beta Pi Honor Roll website. They will also be recognized by plaques displayed on the ground floor of the Huang Engineering Center.

The more than 100 members of the Stanford chapter of Tau Beta Pi represent students in the School of Engineering who have achieved academic excellence and demonstrated exemplary character. This is the fourth year the society has made teaching awards. Other activities include service projects, such assisting local schools with K-12 STEM projects, professional development events on topics such as ethics, diversity, and inclusion, and social gatherings to foster community.

“Tau Beta Pi brings people together across the entire range of engineering disciplines,” Reichert said.