The SAS Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students recognizes teaching that is intellectually rigorous, exceptionally coherent, and that has considerable impact upon students. Recipients of the Dean's Award are expected to embody unusually high standards of integrity, fairness and commitment to learning.
Maria Alejandra Diaz-Miranda -- who goes by the name of Alé (pronounced "all A") -- has been a TA in Cellular Biology and Biochemistry (BIOL 202) and Molecular Mechanisms of Infectious Disease Biology (BIOL 406). She was recommended for the Dean's Award by students and faculty who appreciated her dedication to teaching, including the use of recitation sessions to present complementary perspectives on lecture material, rather than simply responding to student questions.
Alé hails from Colombia and is a fourth-year Biology graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. David Roos at Penn. Her doctoral research exploits new sequencing technologies to elucidate the biology of Toxoplasma parasites and their interaction with the mammalian cells they infect. Integrating genomic-scale information from various sources with biological experimentation requires the same great communication skills that have made Alé a successful TA, as she works closely with colleagues in the Gregory lab, Stanford, Liverpool, and elsewhere.