The Alan J. Perlis SCS Student Teaching Award
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3891
(412)268-8525 . (412)268-5576 (fax)


Arbob D. Ahmad, 2011

As Carl Friedrich Gauss observed, It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment. The joy of learning and the love for a field of study are both contagious. I was inspired to share these with other students by the influential educators who instilled them in me. The fervor for the field of Professor Harper and my 15-312 TA, Dan Licata, engaged my interest in type theory and influenced my course of study. As a TA, I aspire to achieve a similar impact.

Teaching assistants act as intermediaries. Far from playing a marginal role, the TA's frequent interaction with students and the professor is essential to the success of a course. Responsiveness, approachability, and patience are key attributes of effective educators. By readily addressing students' questions and concerns, I strive to improve their experience in the course. It is rewarding to clarify a difficult topic for a student and even more rewarding to kindle a passion for computer science. Answering a student's question precipitates a dialog from which I often learn as much as the student.

I'm grateful for the enthusiasm and hard work of the students I've taught and hope that this award signifies that I've paid forward a small portion of the great debt I owe to my teachers.

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