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Stanford announces 2021 Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel and Gores awards

Guosong Hong of Materials Science and Engineering and Lisa Hwang of Chemical Engineering are among the winners of the 2021 Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel and Gores awards.
Lisa Hwang and Guosong Hong | Photos by Rod Searcy

Stanford has announced the winners of the 2021 university awards honoring faculty, students and staff for exceptional service, distinctive contributions to undergraduate education and excellence in teaching.

Last week, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne personally congratulated each of the nine winners during phone or video calls.

The nine winners will be publicly recognized on June 13 at the Commencement Ceremony for the Senior Class of 2021. The in-person ceremony, which will be livestreamed, will take place at 9:30 a.m. (PDT) in Stanford Stadium.

Stanford remains committed to holding a future in-person 2020 graduation ceremony, which will publicly recognize the 2020 winners of the Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel and Gores awards announced in March 2021. The ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic.

2021 Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award winners

The Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for Contributions to Stanford University, which recognizes extraordinary contributions to the achievement of the university’s goals, is open to all members of the Stanford community. This year’s winners are Jan Barker-Alexander and Thomas Fenner.

Jan Barker-Alexander, assistant vice provost for inclusion and community, and executive director of the Centers for Equity, Community and Leadership, and the Offices of First Generation and/or Low-Income Programs and for Military-Affiliated Communities, was honored “for her empathy, love and tireless devotion to advocacy for Black, underserved and historically marginalized students and community members.”

Barker-Alexander, who is the resident fellow (RF) of Ujamaa House, was commended for her transformational leadership of the undergraduate residence, which focuses on the histories, issues and cultures of the Black diaspora. In Fall 2020, the Ujamaa RF position became the first-ever endowed position in residential education and was named in her honor.

She was also honored “for her visionary work in establishing important programs to promote diversity, including revamping the Ernest Houston Johnson Scholars Program, which is named after the first Black student to graduate from Stanford in the pioneer Class of 1895. The program exposes first-year students to research opportunities, faculty-led projects and guidance on the professoriate as a career option, with the ultimate goal of building the pipeline to academia.

Barker-Alexander was also commended “for supporting students in their principled activism.”

Thomas Fenner, deputy general counsel in the Office of the General Counsel, was honored “for his ability to build warm and engaging rapport, even while navigating delicate and difficult legal and ethical considerations.”

He was commended “for his remarkable memory and his mastery of the intricacies of the law” and “for his strong sense of empathy, which fuels his efforts to achieve positive outcomes.”

Fenner was also honored “for his deep institutional knowledge and his constant dedication to the university’s mission.”

Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education

The Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education recognizes distinctive and exceptional contributions to undergraduate education or the quality of student life at Stanford. This year’s winners are Lisa Hwang, Jennifer Rolen, Chloe Stoddard and Constanza Hasselmann.

Lisa Hwang, senior lecturer in chemical engineering in the School of Engineering, was honored “for her tireless efforts in advocating for, supporting and fostering community between educators and students on campus through course re-design and professional development for faculty.”

She was commended “for her remarkable leadership in modernizing the department’s curriculum with an emphasis on active learning and inclusive learning practices.”

Hwang was also honored “for her instrumental work in developing online lab courses during the pandemic to ensure a meaningful learning experience for students.”

She was also commended “for showing great personal dedication to investing in others, through mentoring and advising hundreds of undergraduates and junior faculty, and training teaching assistants.”

Jennifer Rolen, assistant dean and associate director of the First Generation and/or Low-Income (FLI) Office, was honored “for developing, supporting and nurturing the FLI community and valuing diversity across our community.”

She was commended “for fostering strong relationships with students, often guiding and supporting them through difficult challenges.”

Rolen was also honored “for her tremendous contributions to the Stanford FLI Conference, which has been attended by hundreds of students and administrators over the past four years.”

She was also commended “for her thoughtful engagement with student leadership to spread the ethos of pride and the FLI identity, both at Stanford and beyond.”

Chloe Stoddard, a candidate for a bachelor’s degree with honors in international relations, with a minor in human rights, in the School of Humanities and Sciences, was honored “for her commitment to gender equity on campus, co-founding Stanford Women in Law, the Stanford Women’s March and the Student Advisory Board on Sexual Violence Prevention.”

She was commended “for her thoughtful and purposeful leadership, which demonstrates an innate ability to create movements and organizations that are intentionally inclusive and uplifting.”

Stoddard was also honored “for forging a partnership between Habla and Stanford Womxn in Law to better serve workers at Stanford in need of legal support and advocacy.” Habla is a community-engaged learning organization in which students teach English as a second language to native Spanish-speaking workers on campus.

She was also commended “for her dedication to multi-faceted and interwoven approaches to activism, resulting in changes to sexual harassment and assault education curriculum and more comprehensive sexual violence response training for residential staff members.”

Constanza Hasselmann is a candidate for a master’s degree in sustainability science and practice in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, and a candidate for a bachelor’s degree with honors in sociology, with a minor in human rights, in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Hasselmann was honored “for founding the Public Interest Technology Lab at Stanford, which hosts events and engages in advocacy to encourage thoughtful innovation with a focus on recruitment, racial justice and bridging disciplines.”

She was commended “for her tremendous contributions to the creation of Computer Science 184, including recruiting students, designing course curriculum and building the case for course approval.”

Hasselmann was also honored “for her tireless advocacy for student participation in the activities of the Ethics, Society and Technology Lab.”

Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Walter J. Gores Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate teaching excellence. This year’s winners are Justin Du Bois, Guosong Hong and Emily Schell.

Justin Du Bois is the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and professor, by courtesy, of chemical and systems biology in the School of Medicine.

He was honored “for his steadfast dedication to his students, often staying after class to discuss material and create intensely detailed lecture notes, in addition to weekly tutorials, problem sets and review sessions.”

Du Bois was commended “for bringing his passion and enthusiasm into the classroom by showcasing the importance of chemical concepts to human life and disease,” and “for his distinctive approach to learning, including a willingness to sacrifice less-important content to ensure a strong grasp of the core material.”

He was also honored “for putting in hundreds of hours beyond the call of duty to dramatically improve the educational experience of his students.”

Guosong Hong, assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the School of Engineering, was honored “for his broad knowledge, extensive experience and sharp insights in the field of neurotechnology.”

He was commended “for creating engaging, well-organized course content that inspires students’ imaginations and aspirations and draws students from across many different disciplines.”

Hong was also honored “for his caring, personable treatment of students, which epitomizes the intellectual excitement and sense of engaged community that Stanford is known for.”

He was also commended “for his ‘scientific multilingualism’ and his keen ability to lay the necessary groundwork for relevant biology and neuroscience concepts in a comprehensive way for all his students.”

Emily Schell, a doctoral candidate in developmental psychological sciences in the Graduate School of Education, and a minor in psychology in the School of Humanities and Sciences, was honored “for her thoughtful dedication to her students, often curating educational and personal support systems to fit individual needs.”

Schell was commended “for deploying innovative strategies to create an environment that encourages questions, uplifts responses and offers additional resources and office hours for her students.”

She was also honored “for her contagious passion for service learning, which inspires students to connect their academic learning with real-world problems that need solutions.”

Schell was also commended “for her effective collaborations with other graduate students and faculty in adopting new technologies and student-centered pedagogy.”