2011 Pinanski Citations

Presentations of the Awards

Stacie Goddard

Whether students choose to take a class by Stacie Goddard on a lark or on purpose, one thing is clear: Stacie Goddard, assistant professor of political science, has a transformative effect on all of her students.

Indeed, her enthusiasm for teaching political science and international relations is infectious. “Her passion for teaching comes through in whatever class you may take with her,” said one student. “The ability to spread that level of passion for an academic subject to your students is the hallmark of a wonderful professor.”

Admittedly, the subject matters that Professor Goddard teaches—war, security studies, weaponry—have the potential to be dark, dense, and boring, said one student nominator. “But her classes are the exact opposite,” the student wrote, “and I feel that speaks to her skill as a teacher and her enthusiasm.”

Through simulation exercises, she makes complicated issues digestible and, as one student said, she has a way of making history relevant to current issues, to prepare students for actual situations they may encounter throughout their careers. “Her teaching style forces her students to engage with the material, tackle tough questions, and come to conclusions without feeling overwhelmed,” said one student.

She truly embraces the ethos of a liberal arts education. “More than anything, she is an exceptional teacher because she fosters this sense of intellectual curiosity within her students and mentors them along this road of academic selfdiscovery,” wrote one student.

Professor Goddard is invested in her teaching and she is invested in the success of her students. “She manages to strike the perfect balance between pushing students outside of their academic comfort zones, while also giving us enough guidance to achieve goals we did not even know we were capable of reaching,” one student said.

Even more, she takes it upon herself to counsel and guide her students about their post-Wellesley plans. Professor Goddard is quick to encourage students to apply for internships and attend conferences. She has also been known to invite an entire class to her home at the end of the semester to discuss, among other things, their future career plans.

For these many reasons, Stacie Goddard is most deserving of the Anna and Samuel Pinanski Teaching Prize.

Carlos Ramos

When students describe Professor of Spanish Carlos Ramos, they use words such as dynamic, innovative, energetic, and caring. And these are words and sentiments shared by students who take his 100-level courses, as well as his upper-level classes.

Simply put, “Carlos Ramos is truly the embodiment of what a professor should be,” said one student.

This Spanish professor is not only confident in the subjects he teaches, but he also inspires confidence in those he teaches. “Professor Ramos’s commitment to my project and his confidence in me have inspired me to take myself more seriously,” said one student.

Said another student, “His passion for the subject matter was contagious and inspired my own enthusiasm and desire to learn beyond the syllabus.”

A scholar of Spanish literature and culture, Professor Ramos regularly connects with other faculty members, making clear interdisciplinary connections in the classes he teaches. As one student explained: “He brilliantly works with different manifestations of literature and culture to catalyze an environment where an economist, sociologist, and physicist can all acquire an accurate and deeply intuitive understanding that transcends the boundaries of their respective disciplines.”

Professor Ramos’s lessons extend outside of the classroom, too. A big proponent of experiential learning, he uses class field trips to make courses come alive. He has even been known to have a class act out a scene from a play, making sure to assign a character to himself. “Whether it was creating a surrealist poem as a class, walking through a modern Bauhaus-inspired living room, or acting on stage, I always felt like I was learning beyond the classroom,” said one student nominator. “Such experiential learning has changed my idea of what education could be.”

Another student said the knowledge she gained from taking a class with Professor Ramos is knowledge that she will keep for a lifetime. “This lasting influence is one of the most valuable things I will take away from my four years at Wellesley,” she said.

It is clear that Professor Ramos continues to have a positive impact on the students he teaches. Wellesley College is proud to award Carlos Ramos the Anna and Samuel Pinanski Teaching Prize.

Yuichiro Suzuki

In the classroom and the lab, Yuichiro Suzuki, assistant professor of biological sciences, creates moments—memorable, pivotal, teachable moments that help his students become independent thinkers and scientists.

Through his teaching, Professor Suzuki makes science real. “In one case, he asked the entire class to rotate our arms in a counter-clockwise direction to imitate cilia and he was the nodal flow,” said one student. “I have yet to forget the concept of cilia rotations and their importance in breaking left-right symmetry.”

Professor Suzuki has a genuine interest in and dedication to teaching, and he has a gentle way of leading students on their paths of scientific discovery. “Before delving straight into explaining previous experiments or studies, he asks us, ‘How would you do this?’ This simple method of questioning always triggers our ability to think critically and ultimately allows us to appreciate the beauty of simplicity in science,” said one student.

Added another student nominator, “Although always encouraging and helpful, he does not try to convince students or push them into research, allowing them to discover it for themselves. Inevitably, research is not for everyone, and Professor Suzuki really allows students to understand exactly what research is about by allowing us to make mistakes, sometimes dire ones, in order to introduce us to the reality of scientific research.”

He also has unwavering faith in his students. In the lab, he treats his students as colleagues, rather than students working under him, giving them the opportunity to modify experiments and explain if they think the experiment will work. Additionally, he encourages his students to publish their work. “I find that amazing,” said one student, “because I initially thought that… undergraduates were not equipped well enough with research and sophisticated writing styles.”

Professor Suzuki takes very seriously his role not only as teacher, but as mentor, too. “Professors like Yuichiro Suzuki are exactly what undergraduate students need in order to be able to comfortably discuss the direction they hope to take after Wellesley,” said one student. “If it were not for Professor Suzuki, I would never have found my niche in biological research.”

Wellesley College is pleased to be able to recognize Yuichiro Suzuki with the Anna and Samuel Pinanski Teaching Prize.

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2011 Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Read the full citations.