IDSS recognizes two TAs with new award
As the IDSS flagship Social and Engineering Systems PhD program grows, many students serve as teaching assistants for both on-campus and online IDSS courses. To recognize the hard work and dedication of our TAs, IDSS has launched a new award recognizing those who go above and beyond for their students, assist in curriculum design, and nurture the growing and diverse IDSS community. Winners are also recognized with a $1000 honorarium.
For 2022, IDSS has selected two SES students as the inaugural winners of the IDSS TA award: Max Vilgalys and Yunzong Xu.
Max, a recent alum, researched adaptation to climate change using and developing tools from machine learning, nonparametric statistics, and structural econometrics.He served as TA for 6.431x Probability—the Science of Uncertainty and Data. Max conducted live recitations for a third cohort of Peruvian learners, enrolled in the MicroMasters through the IDSS educational partnership with Aporta. He developed interesting instructional material, exercises, and live polls for these sessions. Max also worked with Uruguay learners who were taking 6.419 Data Analysis: Statistical Modeling and Computation in Applications. He designed recitation content that encompasses theory and practical applications to enrich the course experiences. Max also served as a TA in IDS.412, Science, Technology, and Public Policy.
Yunzong Xu is an SES student interested in statistical machine learning and operations research. His research areas include data-driven decision making, online and reinforcement learning, econometrics and causal inference, with applications to revenue management and healthcare. Yunzong served as a TA for IDS.305, Business & Operations Analytics, and was particularly commended by his students for his dedication and availability: meeting after hours and answering long questions with patience and insight.
Students, online learners, faculty and staff supported Max and Yunzong’s nomination, praising them for being responsive, helpful, insightful, and helping them to understand complex material.