Erika Milam Honored for Excellence in Mentoring Graduate Students
Four Princeton University faculty members have been named recipients of the Graduate Mentoring Awards by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning and will be honored during the Graduate School’s Hooding ceremony Monday, June 3, on Cannon Green.
The award winners are Anna Shields, professor of East Asian studies and acting chair of the Department of East Asian Studies; Erika Milam, professor of history; Jonathan Pillow, associate professor of psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute; and Emily Carter, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment, and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and applied and computational mathematics.
The mentoring award recognizes Princeton faculty members who nurture the intellectual, professional and personal growth of their graduate students. Graduate students nominate faculty members for the award and, together with faculty members, serve on the committee that selects the winners. The award honors faculty in each academic division (engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences) and includes a $1,000 prize and a commemorative gift.
Erika Milam, who joined the faculty in 2010, studies the history of the modern life sciences, especially evolutionary theory. She is director of graduate studies for the Program in History of Science. “Erika is a fantastic mentor and a stellar example of the best of what academic leadership and teaching can be,” said a former dissertation advisee. Students noted Milam’s attentiveness to their individual needs. “I often tell other students how extraordinary it was that she stopped me in the hallway during break of our second or third class and asked if I felt I was being given enough opportunity to participate in the discussion,” said one student. Another mentioned Milam’s willingness to adapt an undergraduate course as a graduate seminar, despite the extra work it entailed. Students also recognized Milam’s generosity with feedback on their research, writing, grant applications and job searches. “For Erika, this level of engagement is the rule, not the exception. … Even in small doses, her commitment to students is transformative,” said a student.