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Four Viterbi School Teaching Assistants Win CET Awards

December 03, 2009 —

TAs Jared Fortune (ISE), Dan Hong (AME), Khiza Mazwi (Mork Department) and Ashok Patel (Hsieh Department) have received commendations from the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching.

They are among a group of 24 recipients university-wide. For more information about CET and the awards, click on the logo below.

Jared Fortune, Industrial & Systems Engineering
Sponsor: Stan Settles
Jared Fortune is recognized for outstanding commitment to educating students for five years and partnering in creating a new course in the systems engineering profession worldwide. Jared has far surpassed expectations for a teaching assistant even when he is extremely busy. For the last three semesters we have been creating a new course entitled “Economic Considerations for System Engineering.” As far as we can find there is no similar course offered anywhere. This means that we have made use of two very different textbooks plus many other materials and guest lecturers to make it work effectively. Jared has also been the teaching assistant for another course entitled “Lean Operations.” He has performed far above expectations in that course as well. It is a course that we created some years ago in response to a huge shift that is occurring in operations worldwide. It continues to be one of the leading courses in the lean operations area nationwide. In both courses Jared demonstrates very high standards while being very available to students.

Dan Hong, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Sponsor: Paul Ronney
Dan Hong has been an integral part of AME 101, “Introduction to Mechanical Engineering and Graphics.” This is an especially important course in the AME curriculum as it is the AME’s incoming students’ first exposure to engineering and sets the stage for their entire engineering education. She has single-handedly taught the graphics laboratory part of the course, handling two 1.5-hour sections every week. She prepares her own lectures and posts extremely detailed and thorough handouts online before each class. Moreover, for the two design contests in AME 101, Dan readily offers a substantial amount of her time in all aspects of the competition. Students comment on her commitment, patience, availability, and willingness to help every student.
A faculty member commented, Dan is “easily the most thorough, reliable and dedicated teaching assistant I have had in my 16 years at USC. Her efforts are far above and beyond that which other teaching assistants have made. She has made an invaluable contribution to the quality of the experience students have in AME 101.”

Khiza Mazwi, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Sponsor: Theodore Tsotsis
Khiza Mazwi works as enthusiastically as a teaching assistant for the USC Viterbi Engineering School freshman course MASC 110L, “Materials Science,” as he does as a volunteer with Los Angeles elementary school children involved with the non-profit he co-founded “Just Like You.”
Khiza brings an infectious enthusiasm to his freshman laboratory class. He received a perfect evaluation of 5.0 out of 5.0 in his teaching assistant evaluations in fall semester 2008. His dedication and interest in teaching is also reflected in his work with “Just Like You” whose mission statement is “promoting international awareness among youth through sport, laying the necessary foundation to create tomorrow’s global citizens.”

Ashok Patel, Electrical Engineering
Sponsor: Antonio Ortega
Ashok Patel has had a long and distinguished career as a teaching assistant. He was awarded the electrical engineering departmental teaching assistant award twice and became the first recipient of the department’s award to recognize outstanding performance as a teaching assistant for an extended period of time. When he received this award the department asked him to address all its Ph.D. students to share his experience.
Ashok has a passion for teaching. He has been a teaching assistant for some of our most challenging courses, entry-level required graduate courses, where many students are getting their first taste of the USC academic environment. Instructors who have worked with him call him the best teaching assistant they have ever worked with. Fellow teaching assistants often seek his advice. Students rave about him, in fact his evaluations have been truly exceptional, and consistently so, with all or nearly all students giving him the highest score. It’s no surprise then that his first job after graduation will be as a Lecturer!