Professor of Chemistry Dulasiri Amarasiriwardena (pictured right) and Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry Rayane Moreira are recipients of the 2014 David Gruber Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Advising.
David Gruber 72F established the awards in 2012 in order to showcase faculty excellence at Hampshire. Award recipients, who each receive $10,000, are asked to give a lecture or organize a symposium on the topic of teaching or advising, with a goal of encouraging the spread of ideas and methods that will help faculty provide the best education possible for students.
Amarasiriwardena received the Gruber Award for Excellence in Advising. The selection committee noted "what is most striking about his mentorship is the overwhelming gratitude that his advisees feel after they work with him to complete the beginning of their most formative years as members of the scientific community."
They added that Amarasiriwardena "seems to inspire his students to constantly challenge themselves. Recommendations for Dula go beyond the basics of a good advisor and onto something more significant and personal."
"I am humbled by all the support and recommendations from my students and the Hampshire community," said Amarasiriwardena. "I enjoy advising and mentoring my students, and spending time working with them to become good scientists. Once they get to the Division III level, they're not my students but my colleagues. That's the beauty of Hampshire."
Moreira (pictured right), who is on sabbatical for the spring 2014 semester, was chosen as recipient of the Gruber Award for Excellence in Teaching for drawing her students into what is considered one of the more difficult science courses at Hampshire. The committee wrote that Moreira "asks her students to perform as organic chemists—with each question, she demands that students demonstrate an intricate knowledge of the subject at hand. However, when students don't understand aspects of the work, she is always willing to sit down with them one on one or in a group to parse through it until it makes sense to them. Her students see her as an invaluable resource."
Faculty are nominated for the Gruber Awards by members of the Hampshire community. A selection committee made up of Division III students and facilitated by Senior Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life Renee Freedman 76S make recommendations on potential awardees to Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash. This year's committee included Bea Carbone 10F, Emma Opitz 10F, Jessica Doanes 10F, Brittany Wilson 12F, and Nate Whitmore 10F.