BIOE Announces Instructional Impact Awards

The Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) announced the recipients of three Instructional Impact Awards honoring a tenure-track faculty member, graduate teaching assistant, and undergraduate teaching assistant, respectively. The awards provide students with a unique opportunity to nominate a BIOE educator who has made a positive impact on their academic experience.

Dr. Catherine KuoBIOE Associate Professor Catherine K. Kuo was awarded the Faculty Instructional Impact Award in recognition of her impact on student knowledge, student skill sets development, and student engagement, as well as for her ability to inspire students to succeed. Kuo, an expert in biomaterials, mechanobiology of tendon development, stem cell-based tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine, was nominated by students in her BIOE120: Biology for Engineers course who overwhelmingly acknowledged her passion for STEM. Several student nominations noted how Kuo’s teaching style – including her balance of discussion and instruction – promoted critical thinking, collaboration, and unique opportunities for learning. “I anticipate this will be one of the most meaningful awards of my career because it was based entirely on undergraduate student nominations,” Kuo said. “It is a thrill to teach curious and passionate UMD engineering students, and it is feedback like this that motivates me to continue aspiring to new heights as a professor.”

Kuo also notes that, in 2016 – four years before she joined the BIOE department – she was invited to serve as the Graduate Student Choice Seminar Speaker for the BIOE seminar series. BIOE alumnae Emily Gosselin (Ph.D. ‘20), a graduate student at the time, nominated Kuo in large part because an undergraduate course Kuo previously taught had been her favorite. Kuo acknowledged that it's fun to think about how – years later – she joined UMD’s bioengineering faculty and received the Instructional Impact Award because of undergraduate student nominations.

Suhas GotlaSuhas Gotla, a BIOE Ph.D. student, received the Graduate Teaching Assistant Instructional Impact Award in recognition of his contributions to BIOE232: Bioengineering Thermodynamics. Gotla was recognized for having an impact on students’ abilities to be successful in the course. Students noted an appreciation for Gotla’s preparedness in providing extra course materials, his adaptation to both online and in-person learning, and his patience and friendly demeanor. Students also acknowledged how Gotla strives to demonstrate firsthand the skills he finds to be most useful in practice. “I actively try to encourage students to exercise their own reasoning, and give them opportunities to hone this skill and make up for past mistakes,'' he said. “Some of my favorite teachers followed the same philosophy, and I am so glad my own students find this method rewarding. It feels very special to be recognized by the students and the department for my efforts.”

Tara HarperTara Harper, a BIOE senior, was named the recipient of the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Instructional Impact Award for her contributions to BIOE371: Differential Equations. Harper was recognized for having a strong impact on students’ abilities to be successful in the undergraduate course. Students noted how grateful they were for the time Harper dedicated to reviewing problems in class. Harper also held review sessions along with her fellow undergraduate teaching assistant before each exam. Together they spent over two hours helping students with any questions. Harper was also recognized for showing compassion to her students and for demonstrating how to succeed in the class.



Published March 15, 2022