Aparna Baskaran

Aparna Baskaran, an Indian American faculty member at Brandeis University, was among three teachers at the university to be recognized with 2018 teaching awards. (brandeis.edu photo)

Brandeis University April 22 announced the recipients of its 2017-2018 teaching awards, who included Indian American Aparna Baskaran.

Baskaran, an associate professor of physics at the university, was named the winner of the Lerman-Neubauer ’69 Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring.

The award recipients are nominated by students, faculty and alumni annually based on how they have impacted their lives, the university said in a news release.

Other awards named include the Michael L. Walzer ’56 Award for Teaching which went to Anita Hannig and the Louis Dembitz Brandeis Prize for Excellence in Teaching which was given to Kristen Mascall.

“Aparna Baskaran is one of the greatest professors I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She cares an enormous amount about her students and their learning and well-being. In the classroom, she creates a fun learning environment thanks to her positive demeanor, hilarious jokes, and most importantly, her deep understanding that her students would not understand the material immediately and will need to struggle first before succeeding,” one student said in nominating Baskaran. “This understanding is something I seldom see in a teacher of any level, and it is extremely refreshing that our professor knows and is comfortable with the fact that we as students will not understand everything from the get-go. There is never a dull moment in her class,” the student added.

Baskaran earned her master’s at the Raman School of Physics at Pondicherry University in India and her doctorate at the University of Florida, where she won numerous teaching and research awards, before her appointment as a postdoc at Syracuse University, her bio said.

Trained as a theoretical physicist, she came to Brandeis in 2010 and now focuses on understanding out-of-equilibrium properties of soft materials and the physics of biological systems. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, including an NSF CAREER Award, and her articles have been published in such journals as the Physical Review, Nature Physics, Soft Matter and the Journal of Statistical Mechanics, it added.

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