Pinanski Prize

Professors Irene Mata, Casey Rothschild, and Carla Verschoor were awarded the Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Citations for the 2016 Pinanski Prize winners

Irene Mata

When you take a class from Irene Mata, you can expect that your view of the world will be forever changed.

Professor Mata teaches students to critically analyze film and literature through a number of lenses, and apply that to their own lives. As one student said: “I was challenged to re-assess my own understanding of the world in order to come to a more inclusive, critical, yet positive assessment.”

In class, Professor Mata facilitates thoughtful and critical conversations, connecting textbook theory with real-life social change, and gives students constant opportunity to discuss and consider many different perspectives.

And though she may be leading the class, Professor Mata is also a fully engaged student—open to the ideas of those around her, with, what one student called, an “unfaltering willingness to grow and learn alongside her students.”

Out of class, Professor Mata is passionately supportive of her students, especially those from underrepresented groups. She can often be seen at student events, and her extended office hours are legendary.

One student commented on Professor Mata’s willingness to meet with her to talk about her post-Wellesley plans. That student said: “She has reminded me to see my life after Wellesley as one of entire possibilities.”

For her dedication to teaching and for opening students’ eyes to the world, it is a pleasure to present Irene Mata with the Anna and Samuel Pinanski Teaching Prize.

Casey Rothschild

Economics Professor Casey Rothschild freely admits that his problem sets are hard.

Hard to do, but also hard to put down. They are designed to encourage students to be active and engaged participants not just in class, but in the study sessions and office hours that he holds—office hours that do not end until all of his students’ questions have been answered, sometimes going late into the night.

Professor Rothschild has a deep and unwavering commitment to supporting his students, giving seemingly unlimited personal attention to each one of them. As one student said: “Casey always pushes every student to learn as much as they can.”

As rigorous as his courses are, students commented on how much they learn from Professor Rothschild—even going so far as to call his finals “fun.”

One student described his style as: “excellence in teaching with just the right amount of challenge.”

A brilliant economist and a rising star in his research field, Professor Rothschild is a tireless advocate for his students. He is the quintessential liberal arts professor, whose teaching informs his research and whose research enriches his teaching.

For his steady and inspired dedication to his students, we are pleased to present Casey Rothschild with the Anna and Samuel Pinanski Teaching Prize.

Carla Verschoor

One by one, Carla Verschoor has been changing students’ lives.

That’s because she makes chemistry come alive—she doesn’t just teach chemistry, she helps students become more knowledgeable and curious about the discipline.

One student said: “Her passion and dedication to teaching and [to] her students have helped many of us learn chemistry and navigate through our Wellesley experience.”

Professor Verschoor is a trusted advisor and mentor to students and faculty alike—in official and unofficial ways. As one colleague described it: “Her door is always open and her office is often full.

One of her faculty colleagues said: “I know of particular students [who] feel far more comfortable approaching her with their academic (or other) issues than any other faculty in the department, even when they have never actually had her in a course!”

Faculty also commented on Professor Verschoor’s deep commitment to and work toward ensuring the success of students from underrepresented groups.

She has held regular office hours in Harambee House to actively catalyze a chemistry community within underrepresented groups in the sciences. As one faculty member said: “Among all the faculty in the department, she has been one of the most successful at helping all students reach their full potential.”

For her commitment to her students and her colleagues, we are proud to award the Anna and Samuel Pinanski Teaching Prize to Carla Verschoor.