Margot Canaday Honored for Excellence in Mentoring Graduate Students

May 18, 2021
Margot Canaday

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 virtual Hooding ceremony at 4 p.m., Monday, May 24.

The award winners are Margot Canaday, professor of history and associate chair of the department; Casey Lew-Williams, professor of psychology and director of graduate studies; Meredith Martin, associate professor of English and director of the Center for Digital Humanities; and Howard Stone, the Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and chair of the department.

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 they serve on the committee that selects the winners together with faculty members, senior staff from the McGraw Center and the deputy dean of the Graduate School. 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.

Margot Canaday, a faculty member since 2008 is a legal and political historian who studies gender and sexuality in modern America.

Students said they appreciated Canaday’s accessibility and how thoroughly invested she was in her students’ work. “I have always found her to be generous with [her time], going out of her way to put me in touch with other graduate students and faculty whose work is relevant to mine,” one first-generation college student said.

Another remarked on Canaday’s deep interest in her students’ lives: “She goes out of her way to check in on both our academic progress as scholars and general well-being as individuals.”

Students were especially thankful for Canaday’s community-building efforts during the pandemic, such as the monthly writing group she created for her graduate students.

One student said, “‘Pandemic Writing Group,’ as we now call it, became a crucial space in which to brainstorm solutions to pandemic-provoked research challenges.” An advisee commented, “She is a model of someone who has succeeded professionally without sacrificing generosity, humility or a genuine love of learning and fellowship.”