2021 Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award

2021 Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award

Mahtab Heydari

As a graduate teaching assistant for Mechanical Engineering Lab, Mahtab Heydari helps develop and beta test new laboratory experiments for future class sections. The recipient of the 2021 Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching, Heydari says this aspect of her position showed her the importance of backend development and course design in effective engineering education.

The award, presented annually by the UGA College of Engineering, honors graduate students who have demonstrated superior teaching skills and commitment to high-quality instruction related to the engineering program.

"My role as the graduate teaching assistant for MCHE3450 has been one of the most impactful experiences of my graduate career," said Heydari. "A hands-on laboratory like this one plays a pivotal role in students understanding and synthesis of engineering topics, and I take great responsibility in ensuring students take away meaningful lessons from the course."

Heydari's duties as a graduate teaching assistant included supervising and collaborating with six undergraduate student workers to lead experiments. During Spring Semester 2021, there were approximately 120 student enrolled in the mechanical engineering lab and Heydari personally covered two sections of the course. 

"In addition to the teaching aspect of the job during lab, she was instrumental in scheduling and directing the student workers to make sure we always had adequate coverage during lab," said Ben Wagner, a senior lecturer and Heydari's course supervisor.

Heydari will graduate in May with a master's degree in engineering with an emphasis in mechanical engineering. Following graduation, she will pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University.

"The UGA College of Engineering is where my passion for teaching and research was first sparked, and it has continued to play a major role into shaping me into who I am as an engineer, educator, researcher, and lifelong learner," said Heydari.