Giovanni Gravina Receives Graduate Student Teaching Award

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April 30, 2019

Mathematical Sciences Ph.D. candidate Giovanni Gravina has been honored with the 2019 Hugh Young Graduate Student Teaching Award.

“I was very grateful for the recognition that I have received for my work and I was reminded of the enthusiasm needed to grow as a teacher,” Gravina said of the honor.

“Giovanni takes his teaching extremely seriously and our students really appreciate him,” wrote William Hrusa, professor of mathematical sciences and associate department head, in nominating Gravina. “He has been an outstanding citizen around the department.”

Hrusa noted that Gravina, who is graduating this year, has substituted or assisted with a wide variety of undergraduate courses in his time at Carnegie Mellon, and has earned the respect of the department’s faculty. In 2016, for example, the department entrusted Gravina with assisting a professor having serious health issues because “we had complete faith in him to handle the class on his own if necessary.”

“His office hours were always well attended, and our students often mentioned his name with a tone of camaraderie, as if Giovanni was someone they felt very comfortable with,” Associate Teaching Professor Dana Mihai wrote about her experience teaching with Gravina in 2015. “Throughout the class I came to rely on Giovanni with confidence that everything will be done well.”

Several of Gravina’s former students also wrote letters attesting to Gravina’s teaching prowess.

“His thoughtfulness, respect for students and genuine interest in helping us learn still stand out to me,” wrote junior Meredith Wong about Gravina’s teaching of her 2017 Differential Equations course. “I felt like he genuinely cared about my and other students’ learning because he was so expressive in his teaching and was always willing to put in the extra time to make sure we understood things.”

“He was always exceptionally prepared, well-spoken, and attentive to the needs of the class,” fifth year scholar Newton Xie wrote about Gravina. “His instruction set a high bar for excellence and helped ease my transition academically during my first semester at the university.”