Recipients of the 2021 Amit & Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Amit & Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student (AETS) awards are open to all students who have a formal teaching role at the University of Waterloo. Up to four awards are given annually in recognition of excellence in teaching of all kinds by registered students (e.g., teaching assistant, laboratory demonstrator, sessional lecturer).

Charbel Azzi, Systems Design Engineering

Charbel Azzi

Charbel Azzi, a PhD Candidate in Systems Design Engineering, is recognized by his students and colleagues for his exceptional teaching, enthusiasm, and accessibility. Azzi took the time and effort to develop his lectures appropriately to fit the remote teaching environment. A faculty member remarked that Azzi is “an enthusiastic and inspiring instructor, who goes the extra mile to ensure that students have the best possible learning experience in the pandemic. SYDE 182 is a very technical course that is hard to teach, but Charbel masters it.” Students prefer his approach to teaching over the textbook as it improves their conceptual understanding of the material. A colleague remarked, “I was not surprised when I learnt that students felt that Charbel should write his own textbook on Engineering Dynamics.” Azzi does not just simply teach Engineering Dynamics, “he helps students develop appropriate problem-solving skills which will help students approach any engineering problem.” As well, students pointed out that Azzi would make time outside of tutorials and office hours to help students with questions and course concerns.

Azzi has been an instructor for SYDE 182 and a TA for BME 182, and ME 321.

Melanie Mungalsingh, School of Optometry and Vision Science

Melanie Mungalsingh

Melanie Mungalsingh, a PhD student in Optometry, is recognized by her students and colleagues for her exceptional teaching skills, accessibility, approachability, and problem-solving abilities. An optometry student remarked that Mungalsingh “went the extra mile to make sure she provided the best guidance, even if it meant researching problems on her own and getting back to students outside of work hours.”A colleague remarked that “Mungalsingh presents material in a variety of ways and adapts her language as needed to ensure students understand the concepts that she is enforcing.” As well, several of her students pointed out that she has always made herself available and accessible to answer questions about campus life or confusing scientific concepts outside scheduled labs and office hours. Students have truly felt supported by Mungalsingh.

Mungalsingh continues to build her teaching portfolio by taking part in the Fundamentals of University Teaching Certificate with the Centre for Teaching Excellence. She also earned a Certificate in Online Course Facilitation at the University of Waterloo to learn how to deliver engaging online courses.

Mungalsingh has been a lab instructor for OPTOM 337, OPTOM 387, OPTOM 255, OPTOM 152, BIOL 130, BIOL 273, BIOL 373.

Rollen D'Souza, Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Rollen D'Souza

Rollen D’Souza, a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, is recognized by his students and colleagues for his exceptional adaptability to the COVID- 19 pandemic, his leadership skills, teaching methods, and approachability. D’Souza was able to develop online labs to a high quality during the COVID-19 pandemic. An undergraduate student remarked that D’Souza “put in extra effort to ensure the ECE380 labs were exceptional. Rollen made extra materials such as lab videos to ensure that online classes were maintaining the same level of quality as in-person labs.” A colleague pointed out that D’Souza played an indispensable role in offering online labs over the Spring of 2020, “it would have been impossible without his extraordinary efforts.” As well, several students have felt strongly supported by D’Souza. An undergraduate student remarked that “Rollen made it feel like we were all working on the lab together, which is a breath of fresh air during this isolating pandemic.” Students and faculty members are truly grateful for his dedication.

D’Souza has been a teaching assistant for SE 101, SE 465, ECE 459, MATH 213, ECE 351, and a lab instructor for ECE/SE 380.

Quinn Worthington, Earth and Environmental Sciences 

Quinn Worthington

Quinn Worthington, a master's student in Earth and Environmental Sciences, is recognized by her students and colleagues for her exceptional teaching, approachable personality, and passion for student success. Worthington’s personality has allowed students to approach her when they need help. A colleague remarked that “Quinn creates a positive atmosphere and students are naturally drawn to her and feel very comfortable asking her questions.” Worthington creates a risk-free learning environment by taking students’ incorrect answers, pointing out other criteria for students to consider, and guiding them to the correct answer. In the end, “students have turned their failures into a success.” Students have found Worthington to be exceptionally helpful. A student remarked that “I found Quinn to be exceptionally helpful. My first impression was how she was very approachable and knowledgeable, which made me feel more comfortable inquiring about geology.” 

Worthington has been a TA for EARTH 231 and EARTH 390.