Pinghan Zhao, a second year graduate student working in the lab of Dr. Joshua Shulman at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, was selected to receive the 2021 Rush and Helen Record Teaching Assistant Educator Award from the Baylor College of Medicine.
Zhao served as one of the teaching assistants for the course “Electrical Signaling in the Brain” (ESIG) taught by Dr. Paul Pfaffinger. Zhao’s teaching was inspired by his experience taking the course as a first-year graduate student and remembering the helpfulness of his own teaching assistant, Zhuokun Ding. “After I finished the course, I decided to pass on the help and sign up for a teaching assistant position,” Zhao stated.
Pfaffinger’s ESIG course is demanding as it requires complex modeling of neurons as electrical circuits as well as heavy mathematical and physical computation. The course was made all the more challenging due to virtual learning during the pandemic. Zhao and his teaching assistant colleague Jiayang Xiao had to invest extra effort to be sure students could understand the material over a virtual setting, however Zhao was up to the challenge. “We were very happy to see that this year, even during the pandemic, the neuroscience class achieved probably the highest grades they have ever seen for the course.”
Zhao is very honored to receive the 2021 Rush and Helen Record Teaching Assistant Educator Award.