Student Spotlights: Ph.D. Students Tugce Isik and Simon Mak Receive Awards of Excellence from ISyE

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ISyE Ph.D. students Tugce Isik and Simon Mak received ISyE graduate awards this year: the ISyE Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award (GSI) and the ISyE Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award (GTA), respectively. This is the first year that ISyE has given this award.

“Our outstanding graduate students are integral to the teaching mission of the Stewart School,” said Alan Erera, associate chair for graduate studies and Coca-Cola Professor at ISyE. “Tugce and Simon have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in teaching that is exemplary and worthy of commendation, providing our undergraduate students with top notch instruction and course support.”

The GSI award is given to recognize excellence in teaching by a graduate student as measured by exceptional scores on the Course-Instructor Opinion Survey and other evidence of teaching effectiveness including accessibility to all students and passion about teaching and learning. Tugce Isik won the award this year for teaching ISYE 3044 Simulation Analysis and Design; a required course in the IE curriculum.

Tugce motivates her students through her strong curiosity and enthusiasm for the topics she teaches. She sets clear teaching goals, has strong communication with her students in and outside the classroom, and helps the students to see the values of the course material for themselves, “not just something they want to get over with.”  Tugce says of her class: “My class is not necessarily the easiest, but I think being open, fair, and friendly helps a great deal.”

The GTA award recognizes ISyE graduate students who have demonstrated exceptional performance in the execution of their TA responsibilities. Simon Mak received nominations from both the students he assisted and the faculty member he worked with in the required foundational course ISyE 2027 Probability with Applications. 

As a teaching assistant, Simon strives for an engaged and interactive teaching and learning environment. He works with his students to ensure a strong foundation of concepts as well as to build problem-solving strategy thinking rather than merely showing students how to solve a specific homework problem.  His goal is to provide students with the tools they need to solve any problems they face, within the course or otherwise, rather than having them try to follow step-by-step solutions without understanding why such steps were taken.

The awards were presented at the Graduate Student Honors Luncheon on April 16, 2015.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Lizzie Millman
  • Created:04/20/2015
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016