Peter Fontana Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

The Department of Physics recognizes the importance of Teaching Assistants to its mission and yearly selects an outstanding graduate TA for special recognition. The recipient receives an award of $500 and a certificate. The award is made near the end of the spring term.


All graduate students who serve as teaching assistants in a physics course during the academic year are eligible for the award, except for the previous year's recipient, who serves on the selection committee with faculty members.


The Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award recognizes excellence in the ability of a graduate Teaching Assistant to convey physics concepts and analytical and laboratory skills effectively to students, mastery of physics subject matter, and engagement in professional development activities that foster excellence in graduate teaching.


Finalists for the award are chosen from the results of an online survey of all students enrolled in physics courses in a particular academic year, and from a similar survey of faculty members. The selection committee asks each finalist to prepare a portfolio that includes (i) a CV as it pertains to teaching, (ii) a statement of teaching accomplishments and philosophy, and (iii) up to three non-confidential letters of recommendation, of which two must come from university faculty members. The selection committee chooses the award winners based on the portfolio, teaching evaluations, and other evaluative materials.


A web-based survey of students is conducted during the first 4 weeks of Spring term. The finalists are announced in the 5th week of spring term, and application portfolios are due in the Graduate Coordinator/Main office by 4pm on the Friday of the 8th week of term. The award is announced at the picnic at the end of Spring term.

Previous awards:

Year Recipient
2020-2021 Maggie Greenwood & Brenden Greenwood
2019-2020 Pedram Esfahani
2018-2019 MacKenzie Lenz
2017-2018 Michael Vignal
2016-2017 Carly Fengel
2015-2016 Jay Howard
2014-2015 Zachary Thompson
2013-2014 Christopher Jones
2012-2013 Daniel Gruss
Andrew Stickel
2011-2012 Lee Aspitarte
2010-2011 Lin Li
2009-2010 Joshua Russell
2008-2009 Zlatko Dimcovic
2007-2008 KC Walsh
2006-2007 Matthew Neel
Vincent Rossi