Kristina Smiley & Adam Miller, Dean’s Prize Recipient, April 2017
The Dean’s Prize is for teaching assistants who have demonstrated their devotion to undergraduate teaching, including classroom presence, course preparation and administration, student counseling, and where applicable, development of new courses and methods of student instruction.
Kristina Smiley’s devotion to teaching spans multiple ages and multiple teaching capacities. At Cornell, Kristina has TA’d many courses from Biopsychology, Adult Psychopathology, and Statistics. Kristina has also designed and taught several of course sections including Intro to Social Psychology and Hormones and Behavior. The Intro to Social Psychology course is unique as is it open to international high school students which take the course for college credit during the summer. At the undergraduate level, Kristina designed the course reading list for weekly discussion sections and exams for Hormones and Behavior. In addition, Kristina has mentored over 15 undergraduate students in her lab, who have worked on many different independent projects, throughout her Ph.D. training. For the past 6 years, Kristina has also participated in Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), an annual workshop which exposes middle and high-school girls to various STEM fields and careers. She is an EYH co-leader and workshop organizer for “Brains!”, a workshop which teaches girls neuroscience through hands-on activities such as sheep brain dissections, looking at brains under a microscope and even holding a real human brain! Kristina has also participated in other scientific outreach activities for younger children such as “Kid’s Science Day” at the Big Red Barn. Additionally, Kristina has produced educational videos showcasing the social behavior of her study system, the zebra finch, for the Principles of Animal Behavior college textbook, and videos demonstrating how to validate new hormone assays for graduate student-oriented research workshops and conferences.
Adam Miller is a memory researcher with an interest in mentoring future scientists. His research focuses on how memories form in the brain and how they support behavior. During his time at Cornell, Adam managed a team of undergraduate researchers, including three honor thesis students, as they completed projects on how memories are reactivated during decision making, how brains retain information over a delay, and how the brain represents distinct environments. All of Adam’s students became authors on conference posters, and journal publications featuring each of the honors students are in preparation. All three of Adam’s honors students are now in graduate school. In addition to his mentoring, Adam has TA’d eight different psychology classes, including three laboratory courses and two Writing in the Majors sections. Adam has recently accepted a post-doctoral position at SickKids hospital in Toronto.