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For immediate release: June 4, 2002

Contact: Steven Schultz (609) 258-5729, mailto:sschultz@princeton.edu

Graduate students honored for excellence in teaching

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Princeton Graduate School has given awards for excellence in teaching to four graduate students who have been particularly successful and devoted in instructing undergraduates.

The annual Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni Teaching Awards are sponsored by the graduate alumni and a selected by the Graduate School administration. The 2002 recipients are Peter Betjemann of the English department, Richard Hooley of the chemistry department, Rebecca Peterson of the electrical engineering department and Elizabeth Woeckner of the classics department.

Yaoping Ruan
of the computer science department received the 2002 Friends of the International Center Excellence in Teaching Award, which honors an international graduate student.

Betjemann came to Princeton after graduating from Vassar College and spending a year teaching Latin at the Ethel Walker School in Northampton, Mass. In addition to precepting for four professors, Betjemann participated in the Cotsen Teaching Seminar and was selected by the department to advise four juniors on their independent work. According to one senior who attended his precepts, "I know several students who walked out of Peter's precept lamenting that they were NOT English majors."

Hooley received his bachelor's and master's degrees in the natural sciences from Cambridge University. He has been a preceptor for organic chemistry, a notoriously difficult class. "There is a strong element of trust expressed by his students, trust that he can explain things clearly and correctly, and that he cares that they are successful in understanding the material," said Professor Martin Semmelhack, who is Hooley's advisor and co-teaches an organic chemistry class.

Peterson came to Princeton in 2000 after receiving her bachelor of electrical engineering at the University of Rochester and her master of electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota. Peterson has precepted for a required electrical engineering course taught by Professor Sigurd Wagner, who said Peterson "moved way above and beyond a standard teaching-assistant assignment, in many directions, and always with greatest attention to student needs, technical content, and careful execution."

Woeckner received her bachelor's degree in classical languages at Bryn Mawr College and holds the Mrs. Giles Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, a nationally recognized fellowship. Professor Christian Wildberg said Woeckner is "an incredible citizen in our department, helping faculty, peers and undergraduates in all kinds of ways and on many levels, both personally and professionally."

Ruan received his bachelor of engineering degree at Tsinghua University and his master of science at the University of Science and Technology of China. He came to Princeton in the fall of 2000. His teaching has been widely praised by undergraduates, including one who wrote, "I have just been very appreciative of Ping's willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to help out undergrads."

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