2016

Award Recipients 2016

Award for Junior Faculty

Laura Waller, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

Award for Senior Faculty

Catherine Albiston, Professor, Berkeley Law

Award Recipient Bios

Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Junior Faculty

Laura Waller, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

In only her fourth year as an Assistant Professor, Laura Waller has already distinguished herself not only as a scientist but also as a graduate mentor. Professor Waller is an expert in the field of computational imaging, having invented a novel approach to optical systems. She runs a collaborative and interdisciplinary laboratory that her students have described as a great pedagogical and working environment. She garnered no fewer than 27 nominations for this award from graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduates. She provides the necessary support and training that allows her students to achieve a high level of productivity, and also shows compassion when students are struggling. A graduate student dealing with difficult life circumstances referred to Professor Waller as a savior, stating “it is because of her capacity to look past failure and to use failure as a means for discovering truth, that I was able to get past my own professional and personal roadblocks.” Professor Waller epitomizes an ideal graduate mentor, providing – in the words of several current graduate students – the creative insight, vision, career opportunities, enthusiasm, and encouragement for graduate studies at Berkeley.

Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Senior Faculty

Catherine Albiston, Professor, Berkeley Law

Professor Catherine Albiston, a leading scholar in socio-legal studies, is a shining example of what it means to be a “student-centered” professor at UC Berkeley. Not only does she help her advisees fulfill their dreams but she also supports graduate students throughout the program in Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP). Her formal contributions to student life in JSP range from co-founder of the JSP Diversity Committee to Job Placement Coordinator to Head Graduate Advisor to Graduate Equity Advisor. Her students appreciate that she demands academic excellence and provides the means to achieve it with rigorous, timely critique of their scholarship and a nurturing, family-friendly environment. As a former advisee noted: “She never fails to provide both the most incisive critique you’ll get on a paper and the most constructive and helpful suggestions for redeeming yourself.” Professor Albiston’s mentorship is not limited to her advisees. Several of the nominators noted the exceptional nature of her input as a committee member and second reader. Others mentioned the “tremendous boon” that she provided by establishing a new interdisciplinary writing workshop in JSP that helped graduate students at all stages of their studies to hone their craft. Professor Albiston inspires both her students and colleagues by her commitment to the next generation of scholars.


2015

Award Recipients 2015

Award for Junior Faculty

Alison Post, Assistant Professor, Political Science, and Global Metropolitan Studies

Award for Senior Faculty

Edward Miguel, Professor, Economics

Award Recipient Bios

Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Junior Faculty

Alison Post, Assistant Professor, Political Science, and Global Metropolitan Studies

Applying intelligence, professional experience, and smiling kindness, Professor Alison Post has distinguished herself as a leading graduate student mentor in Political Science and related disciplines. Setting an example for other junior professors in balancing research with service, Professor Post understands that true mentorship is not an academic exercise. She combines brilliance in her own research and an interdisciplinary perspective with a proven talent for keeping the student’s confidence intact, even as she moves them beyond their intellectual comfort zones. As one appreciative Ph.D. candidate remarked, “Alison is both a demanding advisor and a trusted mentor who always has my best intellectual and professional interests at heart.” Professor Post is respected for helping to orient students long before their arrival at UC Berkeley, for continuing to help others as they move through the dissertation process,for joining with her students in co-authored papers, and for providing ongoing advice as the graduates move into the professional world. She exemplifies humane compassion without sacrificing a demand that her students reach for the highest level of academic accomplishment and professional integrity. Professor Post understands that quality scholarship and a balanced life go hand in hand. An important role model for women in the field of Political Science, Alison Post is an inspiration to many.

Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Senior Faculty

Edward Miguel, Professor, Economics

Edward Miguel combines his passions for excellence in scholarly research and his outstanding classroom teaching in a novel model of graduate mentorship. Professor Miguel implements interdisciplinary, community-based mentoring that has been successful in guiding a large and diverse group of graduate students. This model is being replicated elsewhere across the country. A nominator wrote: “Professor Miguel creates communities of open and constructive exchange among his students and within the broader research community.” In doing so he has transformed the field of development economics into one of the most thriving fields of study in the Economics Department, largely through his mentoring of graduate students. Professor Miguel devotes a great deal of time and effort to mentoring these students to achieve their maximum potential, deeply engaging with his students and their work while also providing numerous opportunities for professional development. He has been an innovator in introducing the rigors of data science to his students, placing his advisees among an elite group of young economists who are experimenting with new norms and methods. He is notable for advising his students through all stages of their successful careers, whether in academia, government, NGOs, or the private sector. Edward Miguel’s commitment to human development, evidenced both in his own research and his investment in Berkeley graduate students, makes him an outstanding mentor.


2014

Award Recipients 2014

Award for Junior Faculty

Clayton Critcher, Assistant Professor, Haas School of Business

Award for Senior Faculty

Cathryn Carson, Professor, History
Linda Williams, Professor, Film and Media Studies and Rhetoric

Award Recipient Bios