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SEAS Teaching Awards
April 27, 2010, Volume 56, No. 31

Recipients of the Penn Engineering Teaching Awards are selected through thoughtful consideration by SEAS students who said, “Penn Engineering is filled with gifted educators, and continues to be inspired by their dedication and excellence.”



Sanjeev Khanna, Rosenbluth Family Fellow and Professor of Computer and Information Science,  has been awarded the S. Reid Warren Jr. Award, which is presented annually by the undergraduate student body and the Engineering Alumni Society in recognition of outstanding service in stimulating and guiding the intellectual and professional development of undergraduate students. He obtained his PhD in computer science at Stanford University and his undergraduate degree in computer science and economics from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, India.

One student states, “Dr. Khanna is an excellent professor. His passion for algorithms comes through in class, and he makes complex ideas as simple as possible to understand. The structure of his class is great, and encourages individual solving of problems using the solid framework developed in lectures. The class is a success mainly because of the professor.”




Katherine Kuchenbecker, Skirkanich Assistant Professor of Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, has been awarded the Ford Motor Company Award for Faculty Advising. The award recognizes dedication to helping students realize their educational, career and personal goals. Dr. Kuchenbecker earned her bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 2000, a master of science in mechanical engineering in 2002, and a PhD in mechanical engineering in 2006, all from Stanford University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Haptics Exploration Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University until June 2007, after which she joined the Penn Engineering faculty as an assistant professor in the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics.

Dr. Kuchenbecker has been described as “the best educator I’ve ever met. Her lectures are incredibly enthusiastic, engaging, funny, detailed and informative. She has an unmatched way with words, as she is always able to explain every topic clearly in a way that every student can understand. As well, she is one of the most easy to approach faculty members I know, and she is a role model to every female in engineering.”



The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Lecturer and Practice Professor Track has been awarded to Bruce Kothmann, a lecturer in the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics. The award recognizes outstanding teaching ability, dedication to innovative undergraduate instruction, and exemplary service to the School in consistently inspiring students in the engineering and scientific profession.

Dr. Kothmann earned a bachelor of science with highest distinction in aerospace engineering in 1989 from the University of Virginia, a master of science in aerospace engineering in 1992 from the Pennsylvania State University, and a PhD in aerospace engineering in 2000 from Princeton University. His research interests remain in aerospace engineering and in addition to his teaching, he works with the Boeing Rotorcraft Division in Philadelphia.

A student writes that he “has been fortunate to have Dr. Kothmann as a lecturer for a course in linear systems theory (ESE 500) this past fall and for a course in control theory this semester (ESE 505). He is skilled at presenting challenging, theoretical material in an easy-to-understand manner, and talented in using relevant examples from his work on flight control systems to illustrate concepts in class.”

Another student notes that “Dr. Kothmann goes to great lengths to make himself available for help with course material, whether by office hours, e-mail, or even Google Talk. He is an immensely interesting person, and his love for flight, aerodynamics, and math is unparalleled. I’ve never seen anyone so excited to tackle any engineering or mathematical challenge presented to him, and in doing so, his way of thinking has inspired me to do the same.”



Related: SAS Teaching Awards; SP2 Teaching Awards


Almanac - April 27, 2010, Volume 56, No. 31